PARIS (Reuters) - Dominique Strauss-Kahn is expected to return to France within days, Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry said on Tuesday, after the end of a criminal case against the former IMF chief left him free to leave the United States.
"He is coming back in the next few days," Aubry, also a Socialist candidate in France's upcoming presidential election, told Canal+ television when asked about Strauss-Kahn's plan.
Strauss-Kahn, who was greeted by applause at the IMF's Washington D.C. headquarters on Tuesday, is free to return home after the chief prosecutor of Manhattan dropped charges of attempted rape against him, ending months of house arrest.
Many in France are against a return to politics for the former IMF director, who was arrested in May in New York over accusations that he tried to rape a Guinean maid in a luxury hotel room.
While some political allies in France applauded Strauss-Kahn's liberation, others have raised questions about his ability to restart a political career and retain an influence in French public life.
In an interview with Canal+ television, Former Socialist prime minister Michel Rocard said that Strauss-Kahn suffered from a "mental illness" and had trouble controlling his impulses.
Rocard's blunt appraisal of Strauss-Kahn sparked a rapid riposte on Tuesday from two veteran Socialists.
"Mr. Rocard has some difficulty himself controlling his urges these days," Jack Lang, a former minister, said on LCI TV.
"I wasn't aware that Mr. Rocard was a medical expert of international stature," Laurent Fabius -- who like Rocard was a prime minister under France's last Socialist president, Francois Mitterrand -- quipped on i<Tele.
(Reporting by Gerard Bon; Editing by Andrew Heavens)