July 1st, 2011
01:53 PM GMT
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Dramatic is the first word that springs to my mind whenever Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s name crosses the prompter.

Dramatic was his arrest in New York when he was hauled off a plane bound for his homeland. Dramatic was the "walk of shame" officers made him endure soon after, and dramatic were the allegations of sexual assault levelled against him by a hotel maid - ones the 62-year-old Frenchman has repeatedly denied.

At every twist and turn, the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn has thrown up the unexpected and left observers confounded as to how such a high-profile, successful man could find himself in the dock.

In France, where court proceedings are not televised, people were shocked to see one of their most prominent politicians treated in the same manner as a "common criminal."

Shocking images that caused many to assume Strauss-Kahn - now out of the IMF - would also be out of the running as his country’s socialist hopeful in next year’s general elections.

The danger of making such assumptions is now glaringly apparent, amid warnings that the case against Strauss-Kahn could collapse thanks to doubts about the credibility of the maid’s story.

Strauss-Kahn was this week freed from house arrest after his accuser's credibility was doubted. The  move comes ahead of the socialist party’s primaries, when French left-wingers will vote on who could lead them against incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.

Socialist party leaders, who have searched for a charismatic leader since Segolene Royal’s defeat by Sarkozy four years ago, have expressed their glee at the news surrounding Strauss-Kahn.

Yet I fail to see how a candidate whose name has been so tarnished by these allegations, even one who has protested his innocence, could realistically hope to represent his nation’s interests on an international stage given the events of the last two months.

That is why Strauss-Kahn had to step down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

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