Le Monde, France's floundering but still most prestigious daily newspaper, has apparently ended a two-year power struggle and chosen a compromise candidate as its new editor in chief and publisher.
Andre Laurens, the relatively unheralded deputy political editor, was approved this week by a seven-man board to replace Jacques Fauvet, who has held the post since 1969.
Laurens, 48, will take over formally Aug. 1 if he is endorsed by 60 percent of the editorial staff and 75 percent of the voters at a publishers' board meeting. Under arrangements dating from inception in 1944, the staff that largely owns Le Monde can veto his appointment.
Insiders predicted Laurens will be approved easily because the staff wants to put behind it the internal warfare that has raged since 1980, when Fauvet announced his intention to retire.
Le Monde reportedly is losing money, advertising revenue and readers due to factors including the recession, unwise investment in outdated printing technology and a drop in editorial bite now that its friends of the left are in power.
This week two advisory committees chose Laurens, a moderate leftist, over foreign affairs specialist Andre Fontaine and critic Betrand Poirot-Delpech.
Until last fall Fauvet's successor was to have been Claude Julien, editor of Le Monde Diplomatique, but the board rejected him.