Strauss-Kahn: Chirac preferred socialists to Sarkozy

A cable from Paris dated May 19, 2006, about one year before the election of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, details a conversation between then-leading Socialist Party presidential candidate, now-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn ("DSK" for short), and Craig Stapleton, the U.S. ambassador at the time. According to Strauss-Kahn, outgoing President Jacques Chirac had confided ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
561172_sarko_12.jpg
561172_sarko_12.jpg

A cable from Paris dated May 19, 2006, about one year before the election of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, details a conversation between then-leading Socialist Party presidential candidate, now-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn ("DSK" for short), and Craig Stapleton, the U.S. ambassador at the time. According to Strauss-Kahn, outgoing President Jacques Chirac had confided a profound dislike for Sarkozy, and worried that he could face charges if his interior minister were elected. From the cable:

DSK also judged that Sarkozy had positioned himself

so far to the right that he would have difficulty moving back

A cable from Paris dated May 19, 2006, about one year before the election of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, details a conversation between then-leading Socialist Party presidential candidate, now-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn ("DSK" for short), and Craig Stapleton, the U.S. ambassador at the time. According to Strauss-Kahn, outgoing President Jacques Chirac had confided a profound dislike for Sarkozy, and worried that he could face charges if his interior minister were elected. From the cable:

DSK also judged that Sarkozy had positioned himself

so far to the right that he would have difficulty moving back

to the center. He claimed there was a large number of Chirac

supporters who would not vote for Sarkozy as president. DSK

vigorously affirmed that Chirac was "an objective ally" who

would prefer a victory of the left to having Sarkozy succeed

him for a number of reasons: he did not deem Sarkozy a

"worthy" successor (just as Mitterrand had favored Chirac

over Jospin); he was a "radical-socialist" (in the French

sense) at heart in any case, in contrast to Sarkozy, the free

market "liberal." Chirac also feared Sarkozy was more likely

than the left to pursue him in the courts for past scandals

in which he was implicated.

Chirac’s concerns proved to be well-founded.

DSK eventually lost the Socialist Party nomination fight to Ségolène Royal. Both are now considered candidates for the 2012 election.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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