Michaelle Jean Loses Backing Of Canada, Quebec Governments For Francophonie Leadership

François Legault not supporting Michaëlle Jean's Francophonie bid

Rwanda's Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has been unanonimously elected the Secretary General of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), an 84-member body that was created in 1970 to promote the French language, peace, and sustainable development.

Members of the global organization of French-speaking countries will choose between Jean, who has held the position since 2014, and Mushikiwabo, who has served as Rwanda's foreign affairs minister since 2009, during la Francophonie's summit in Armenia on October 11-12.

Jean had indicated she is seeking re-election to the post of Secretary-General, and had the support of Canada's Liberal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

After a four-year term marked by controversy, the former governor general was considered a long shot for re-election.

Preparing to fly to the Francophonie summit in Yerevan, Armenia, Legault said in a statement that he "will not support the renewal of the mandate of Michaëlle Jean" to the post of secretary-general of La Francophonie.

On June 30, 2018, Mushikiwabo was endorsed by the Executive Council of the African Union for the candidacy of the post of Secretary General of la Francophonie.

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Leblanc said on the weekend that Jean had no intention of dropping out.

"Are we ready to accept that worldwide organizations are used for partisan purposes?"

But, Jean has refused to back down despite her chances of securing another term being described as slim. Jean asked. "Are we ready to accept that democracy, rights and freedoms are reduced to mere words, that we make them meaningless in the name of realpolitik?"

A spokesman for Jean said Wednesday he was surprised at the Canadian and Quebec governments' decision to back Mushikiwabo before the summit even opens. "To tell people who've made a choice that they are wrong - that it should be her and not everyone else - in that way, I think it displays the problem". At the United Nations, they represent more than a quarter of the member countries. France is home to an estimated 500,000 ethnic Armenians, and sizable Armenian communities also live in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, and other Francophone countries.

Despite not backing her, French President Emmanuel Macron also paid homage to Jean's defence of women's rights.

Macron said Thursday that the future of la Francophonie goes through Africa.

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