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Will Strauss-Kahn Return To French Politics?


We turn now to Eleanor Beardsley in Paris to see how the news is being taken there. Good morning, Eleanor.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: You know, what is the reaction in France?

BEARDSLEY: Well, this is just huge. I mean, this is the top news competing with Libya. It's just all over the TVs, newspapers. Everyone's doing special programs on it. So it's pretty huge. This has been France's summer soap opera. I mean since it happened on May 14, the country has just been following every single bit of it.

MONTAGNE: So even as the case seemed to be falling apart in New York, there were questions about Strauss-Kahn actually returning to politics. Now that it's actually happened, what does it look like?

BEARDSLEY: And everyone now, you know, they're saying we want to hear from him, but still, no matter what he says, something happened. A man who wanted to be president had a sexual act with a hotel maid, so he is damaged goods. He cannot come back to French politics.

MONTAGNE: And of course there's another accusation waiting for him in France.

BEARDSLEY: That's right. A young woman who got strength from the, you know, the New York hotel maid, she has finally filed a case. She says in 2002 Dominique Strauss-Kahn, you know, attacked her, and that is now under investigation by French magistrates. We don't know yet whether that will go to trial but they are talking to everyone involved, and she spoke to a lot of people at the time. So that's ongoing. He's got to face that when he comes back.

MONTAGNE: And she's a young French woman with, you know, a powerful family of her own. What will Strauss-Kahn do next?

BEARDSLEY: Whatever happens with Strauss-Kahn personally, France has changed forever, you know, in the way political men behave, in the way women are treated. And people are talking about the before May 14 and the after May 14. So France has changed forever with this affair.

MONTAGNE: Eleanor, thanks very much.

BEARDSLEY: Good to be with you, Renee.

MONTAGNE: We've been talking to Eleanor Beardsley in Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.
Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.