July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn will decide whether he wants to be a candidate in the French Socialist Party’s presidential primary, regardless of the calendar set for formal registration, if he is fully cleared by the U.S. justice system, said Harlem Desir, the interim party leader.
“It’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn who will decide himself how he wants to participate in public life when he is able to,” Desir said yesterday on LCI television. “No one has the intention to prevent someone, no matter who it is, from being a candidate.”
The possibility of a political return by Strauss-Kahn, 62, divides French public opinion, according to a poll published in the daily Le Parisien yesterday. Of 1,000 people surveyed, 49 percent said he should come back to political life one day, while 45 percent said he shouldn’t.
The Socialists are selecting their candidate for next May’s presidential vote through an open primary in October, the first time a French political party will choose its nominee this way. Contenders have until July 13 to register, with the winner challenging President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Francois Hollande, a Socialist candidate, has said he’s open to postponing the party’s leadership race to allow Strauss- Kahn to run.
“My most profound wish is that Dominique Strauss-Kahn can rapidly wash the stain from his honor, regain his freedom and come back among us,” Desir said yesterday.
Asked directly whether the calendar set out for the primary is an obstacle to a possible Strauss-Kahn candidacy, Desir said, “Of course there is no obstacle.”
Strauss-Kahn took a step toward a possible return to political life with his release from house arrest in New York on July 1 after Manhattan prosecutors found evidence undermining his accuser’s credibility. The sexual-assault case against former International Monetary Fund chief will be pursued along with an investigation of false statements by his accuser that have “raised concerns,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.
The former IMF chief, accused of the sexual assault and attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York on May 14, was released on his own recognizance and will have his bail returned but not his passport, New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said. His next court hearing is scheduled for July 18. Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty.
“Say Dominique Strauss-Kahn decides to come back as a candidate among us, no one will oppose” his candidacy, said Martine Aubry, who announced her intention to run for president last week. “He was dragged through the mud, now justice is advancing and I hope that in the coming days he will be totally cleared.”
--Editors: John Simpson, Dick Schumacher.
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