PARIS (Reuters) - A majority of French do not want former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn to return to politics after U.S. prosecutors dropped charges of attempted rape against him this week, a poll showed on Thursday.
The survey by pollster CSA showed that 53 percent of those questioned would prefer the former Socialist finance minister to play no part in the political debate in the coming months, as France gears up for presidential elections in April 2012.
Strauss-Kahn had been the clear favourite to win next year’s ballot, before his arrest on May 14 after a 32-year-old New York hotel maid from Guinea accused him of sexually assaulting her.
A New York judge dropped all criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday, ending three months of sordid headlines on both sides of the Atlantic, after prosecutors said there were contradictions in the maid’s story.
However, he has now missed the deadline for registering for the opposition Socialist party’s primary to choose a presidential candidate.
Only 23 percent of those polled said they were in favour of Strauss-Kahn contesting the Socialist primary, which would require a special dispensation from the party, and just 19 percent said he should back one of the six current candidates.
With his reputation tarnished by widespread reporting of his aggressive sexual behaviour, political analysts say a weary Strauss-Kahn is unlikely to seek to play a frontline role in the Left’s presidential campaign or seek a government position.
But his return to France could complicate matters for the Socialists, who gather for a party conference in the western French resort of La Rochelle on Thursday, as they seek to end the Right’s 16-year grip on the presidency.
Strauss-Kahn still faces a civil case brought by the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, in New York and a separate inquiry in France from a writer who accuses him of trying to force himself on her during a 2003 interview.
Reporting by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Andrew Roche