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Dominique Strauss-Kahn holds France in suspense over his possible candidacy for president

The IMF head could be planning a challenge to Nicolas Sarkozy in France's 2012 presidential election.

According to Rozes, the mystery makes Strauss-Kahn even more desirable — and the head of the IMF might be delaying an announcement to keep his popularity as high as possible.

“If he comes to Paris, Strauss-Kahn will go down in the opinion polls,” said Rozes, “because he will have to make choices, to take clear positions on important issues. It will be the end of this romantic soap opera between him and the French.”

Strauss-Kahn would then have to tackle France’s burning issues — on top of the list: high unemployment, slow growth, and a lack of cohesion in French society.

For that matter, the head of the IMF will probably try and leverage his expertise as a high-profile economist to convince the French that he is the man to get France’s economy back on track.

“What matters,” Strauss-Kahn told the France 2 television station, “is what happens in the street for a man who is looking for a job, and doesn’t find one, who struggles to pay his electricity bill and his rent.” Strauss-Kahn also added that “6 million employees make less than 750 euros [$1,020] a month.”

As head of the IMF, the institution Argentina blames for its financial ruin because it provided loans with unbearable interest rates, Strauss-Kahn has been criticized by some his fellow socialists for being too liberal. 

But if he does decide to run in the election, his image as a moderate socialist is likely to play in his favor.

“France is ideologically left-wing,” said Rozes, “but politically it is right-wing. The people will want the new president to drag France out of its economic slump, but with social justice.”