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Is Strauss-Kahn staging a political comeback – on his wife's coattails?

Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose political life seemed over after sexual assault accusations, is back with a speech criticizing the EU. Does this, and his wife's selection as 'Woman of the Year,' signal his comeback?

By Scott BaldaufStaff writer / December 20, 2011

Former IMF leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves New York State Supreme court with his wife Anne Sinclair on July 1, in New York. Sinclair was named 'Woman of the Year' in a public opinion poll for her 'loyalty and courage' in standing by her man, this week.

David Karp/AP

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Seven months ago, accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a man for whom time appeared to have run out.

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The prominent managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the man who was poised to be the Socialist Party's presidential candidate challenging French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was finished, terminé, in the eyes of many. But yesterday, Mr. Strauss-Kahn made his first foray back into public life, giving a well-publicized speech to a Chinese-based Internet firm, blasting Europe for the eurozone crisis. And on the same day, Strauss-Kahn’s wife, Anne Sinclair, was named “Woman of the Year” in a public opinion poll for her “loyalty and courage” in standing by her man.

In his speech to the Chinese Internet company NetEase in Beijing, Strauss-Kahn let it be known he was not impressed with the restructuring of the European Union’s single-currency zone, hammered together by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Strauss-Kahn’s apparent rival, French President Sarkozy.

“None of the main problems has been addressed,” he said. “There’s no central budget in Europe, no institutional centres, no lender of last resort, no expansion of the monetary policy.”

The French paper Le Monde carried more from Strauss-Kahn’s speech, which is translated here:

"With the recent storm, the raft seems not to be strong enough,” he said, speaking of the eurozone. “The fact that the euro is still in the middle of the river and that the union budget is not completed makes it very, very vulnerable, and the raft seems about to sink. (...) I am not convinced that [French President] Sarkozy and [German Chancellor] Madame Merkel will understand each other and this is probably one of the reasons why the European system has problems ahead,” he said.

Is it because the French public is, like Strauss-Kahn, pessimistic about the Eurozone bailout plan, or is it because they are simply sick of Sarkozy? Whatever the reasons, the French seem more than willing to overlook or move past Strauss-Kahn’s fall from grace and see him return to the public stage.

Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York City last May. Before that, he was the main challenger to Sarkozy in the upcoming 2012 presidential elections. Instead, he was escorted off his plane back to France in handcuff and put through a “perp walk” by New York City police. He resigned his position as head of the IMF and spent the next few months preparing his defense.

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