A former leader of France's opposition Socialist Party insisted in a news interview Saturday that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the embattled former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), should enter a party primary for the French presidency, DPA reported.
Strauss-Kahn, who was Friday released from house arrest in New York where he has been charged with the sexual assault of a hotel maid, was widely thought to be contemplating a presidential run before the charges forced him to resign.
"Nothing should prevent Dominique Strauss-Kahn from running (in the party primary to chose a presidential candidate)," Francois Hollande, who is himself seeking the Socialist Party nomination, told the newspaper Liberation.
While French newspaper editorials said Strauss-Kahn's electoral prospects were now zero, the party hopes that France's most charismatic Socialist can restart his presidential campaign.
Hollande also implied he would support an extension of the deadline to register for the primary. Candidates currently have to declare themselves by July 13, which is before the next scheduled court appearance in New York for Strauss-Kahn, who was bailed Friday.
Strauss-Kahn's prospects at trial have improved after prosecutors disclosed Friday that the complainant lied about her past.
Hollande said the primary itself should go ahead as planned in October to pick the party's official candidate to unseat centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy in the next election.
Media in France predict that Hollande would prefer to enter a primary with Strauss-Kahn as his opponent, rather than running against the party's current leader, Martine Aubry.
Media analysts said Hollande and Aubry would be perceived as politically so similar that Aubry would have an incumbent's advantage. She only recently threw her hat into the ring.
Critics charge that neither is charismatic and that both lack the foreign-policy experience to take over the presidency.