The scandal surrounding the former president of the International Monetary Found (IMF), Dominique Strauss Kahn, made the headlines of a lot of newspapers. It is not our task to judge him, except to say that he has the right to the presumption of innocence. Of course, should he be found guilty, DSK must suffer the consequences. The fall of DSK also means that a change of policy is possible within the ranks of the IMF. The ongoing trial against the French economist means that he won’t be able to run for president in his native country. The scandal shook the Socialist Party (PS) to the core, even though recent polls suggest that François Hollande, the former general secretary of the party, would defeat the incumbent president if elections were held today. It remains to be seen whether the socialists can cope with the moral implications of the scandal, and whether they will still stand by their former candidate, should things take a turn for the worse. DSK’s fall from grace also has wider implications regarding the state of European social democracy. In the person of the French economist, the European Left has lost an experienced politician, who, with his expertise and sense of purpose, possessed all the qualities to resurrect the moribund social democracy. Not since Tony Blair had the European Left such a good chance to renew itself and to find a way back from the abyss. Alas, this opportunity seems to be slipping away now. At the start of the 21st century, the European Left, which dominated the political scene, had to realize that the pursuance of welfare politics has become untenable. The implementation of a series of economic measures was necessary to prevent the economy from slowing down. But the cutbacks in healthcare, the reduction of wages and the raising of the retirement age proved to be unpopular in traditional working class areas. The fact is that, either because of a lack of consensus or out of sheer cowardice, the European Left failed to implement much needed structural reforms. DSK seemed like the perfect choice to see through this process. His expertise and vision at the helm of the IMF may have saved the world from a total economic collapse. Since last week everything has changed. But the European Left cannot give up its determination to renew itself, to carry on the reform process, and to answer people’s needs.
Editorial, www.freehungary.hu, May 24. 2011.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 June 2011 09:07