May 20 - France welcomes news of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn being granted bail by a US court pending his trial on charges of sexually assaulting a New York hotel chambermaid. Sunita Rappai reports.
In France, one man dominates the news. These images of Dominique Strauss Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, doing the so-called perp walk in New York on Sunday, have left the country poised between anger and despair. So the news that a US judge has now decided to release Strauss-Kahn on bail - pending his trial on charges of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a New York chambermaid last week - has been greeted with widespread relief. Many French broadcasters immediately went to air with special programmes. (Upsound - I-tele programme). As this broadcaster says, Strauss-Kahn will now be able to await his trial in a Manhattan apartment from which he may not leave - under the supervision of armed guards and cameras. Strauss Kahn, a Socialist had been seen as the front runner for next year's presidential elections. Former Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal says it is now time to move on. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SOCIALIST FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SEGOLENE ROYAL SAYING: "I think above all that we should now move on to something else. We're not going to obscure all of French political life, the problems that the country faces, the difficulties the French are facing, by living day after day this American judicial soap opera that is taking over the totality of our news shows." On the streets of Paris, many welcomed the news. (SOUNDBITE) (French) MAN SAYING: "He deserves to be freed on bail. There's no reason for him to be left in jail." (SOUNDBITE) (French) MAN SAYING: "I think he's got to defend himself now and that the truth should emerge. If he's guilty, he'll go back to jail. And if not, he'll go home." But some socialists still feel that Strauss-Kahn's future as a presidential candidate is over. SOUNDBITE) (French) SENIOR SOCIALIST MEMBER OF THE SENATE, DAVID ASSOULINE, SAYING: "We can consider that yes, as for the Socialist primaries Dominique Strauss-Kahn will not be in a position to be a candidate, it must be said. It's now, with the proceedings of this week that this has become obvious." Whatever the outcome, it is clear the country will be transfixed by this story for some time to come. Sunita Rappai, Reuters