PARIS - France's Socialists are distancing themselves from Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the ex-IMF chief, once their best-placed presidential contender but now dogged by sex assault accusations, prepares to return from the United States.
With elections eight months away, the main opposition party is torn between old loyalties and the desire to shield itself from Strauss-Kahn's tarnished reputation, after a poll showed two thirds of French voters do not want him in government.
US prosecutors have dropped charges that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape a New York hotel maid. But the 62-year-old still faces a civil case and an accusation of attempted rape by a woman 30 years his junior back in France.
He has promised to offer the French an explanation when he returns, possibly as early as this weekend.