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DSK turnabout fuels France election debate

PARIS - The weakening of the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is fueling intense debate in France about whether the former IMF chief will be able to return and run for president.

The Socialist had been widely seen as the leading contender in the 2012 election, leading polls in the months before his arrest on charges of sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid.

With her credibility now undercut by prosecutors and Strauss-Kahn free on bail, the left-leaning daily Liberation asks the question "DSK Back?" on its front page Monday.

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Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry says a July 13 deadline for candidates to register in the party primary could be pushed back if Strauss-Kahn wants a chance to run against conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy.

A recent poll shows that 49 percent of the French public support the idea of Strauss-Kahn returning to politics in his native land, but as Paris-based journalist and political commentator Anne-Elisabeth Moutet told "The Early Show," while he may have a political future, it's far too early to say whether that future involves a run in the upcoming elections.

"He's not out of the woods yet in America," Moutet told CBS News on Monday morning.

Moutet says many in France feel their national election "was sort of stolen" by the highly publicized case in New York and, "people are still in shock" from the sudden turnabout.

She adds that many of Strauss-Kahn's friends and supporters are urging him to rejoin the campaign - if all charges are dropped and he's allowed to leave the United States.

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