OF COURSE, that Dominique Strauss-Kahn's decision to stand down before an eventual official investigation smacked of bravura and panache is unquestionable. It is rare to see a man, a minister, a government react with such clarity and so quickly when a brush with the law risks polluting the political action. Lionel Jospin, as much because of his convictions as because of the image he is keen to convey, cannot let himself be dragged down in that spiral where so many other politicians have lost their reputations.
But the departure of Strauss-Kahn is a blow for Jospin. No one is irreplaceable. But this minister, in whom Jospin placed all his confidence, had been able to maintain a credibility for the French on the international stage.
THE ASCENT and the fall of Lionel Jospin's Finance Minister, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, weave a trajectory full of symbolism for the Jospin government. The minister's resignation has proved that even Lionel Jospin's worthy plan of action can become degraded; it has proved that he can't escape the undertow of scandal, particularly that of the MNEF.
The fall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn is the symbol of Jospin's fragility. For this "Moral Government" his departure marks the end of an era, the era of innocence.
WHAT A minister! What minister of finance has been able to show, at the end of two years of office, such brilliant results. You would have to go back to Giscard and the heady years of Gaullism to find any trace of a similar service to the French economy. The immediate consequences of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's departure will have political impact. M Jospin, so careful to preserve the coherence of his coalition, so keen to look after the "balance", will be confronted with a serious imbalance. Bluntly, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was the only representative in the government of the "modern left". His departure will leave the battlefield unattended for the left and the ultra-left.
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