France's Royal ready to make room for Strauss-Kahn
Segolene Royal, in the race for the socialist nomination for next year's presidential vote, said Saturday she had no problem delaying the process to make room for Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Royal, beaten by Nicolas Sarkozy in the last presidential election, said she would be willing to see the calendar for nominations changed if Strauss-Kahn himself asked for it.
Her comments came as the sexual assault case in New york against Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief and Socialist party heavyweight, showed signs of unravelling.
"As long as Dominique Strauss Kahn does not ask for the change himself, any decision would be untimely, all decisions in that direction would be premature," said Royal.
But, she added, whatever decision was taken, she would respect, "without difficulty."
Until he was hit with the attempted rape case in May, Strauss-Kahn was the front-runner for France's 2012 presidential election, with a solid lead over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in opinion polls.
With Strauss-Kahn's legal fortunes apparently changing, some of his political allies in Paris have asked for a change of schedule in the nominations process to leave him the option of returning to the race.
As things stand, the deadline for declaring in the Socialist party primary is July 13 -- five days before Strauss-Kahn's next scheduled court appearance in New York.
But for now, although he is free to travel in the United States -- he cannot leave the country.
Strauss-Kahn's legal travails pushed Socialist party leader Martine Aubry to step up and declare her candidacy this week.
Opinion polls suggest Aubry is running neck-and-neck with former party leader Francois Hollande, with Royal, who announced her candidacy earlier this year, trailing them.
The Socialist primary vote is scheduled for October.
© 2011 AFP