Gaullist leader Jacques Chirac has recruited France's ambassador to Wahington,Jacques Kosciusko-Morizet to run on the Gaullist ticket for the National Assembly in elections next March, French political report.
Kosciusko-Morizet,a career diplomat who has headed the French embassy in Washington since 1972 reportedly will resign as ambassador in four to six weeks. He is due to be replaced by France de Laboulaye, who was born and educated in Washington and is now director of political affairs at the Foreign Ministry here.
Kosciusko-Morizet's decision to play an active role for the Gaullists puts him at political odds with his current boss, President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, in the bruising rivalry for influence within the coalition of Gaullists and Centrists that has ruled France for 20 years.
Giscard's Republican Party will join other minor parties in the coalition in running candidates against the more conservative Gaullist lists in the first round of the balloting for the National Assembly in March. The coalition's top candidates will then face run-off battles with candidates from the Socialist-Communist alliance that has a clear lead in current public opinion polls.
Koscuisko-Morizet's departure from Washington is being delayed until after this week's visit by Prime Minister Raymond Barre. The ambassador will be in Paris next week to discuss whether he will take on an interim government assignment before reaching retirement age of 65 in January.