Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Michaëlle Jean loses Francophonie re-election bid

Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo who is running for Secretary General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, poses for François Legault not supporting Michaëlle Jean's Francophonie bid
Sandy Nunez | 13 October, 2018, 02:48

The Canadian and Quebec governments are pulling their support for former governor general Michaelle Jean to remain as head of the worldwide organization of French-speaking nations.

The appointment was confirmed this morning by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office.

The summit at Yerevan's Karen Demirchian sports and concert complex will be chaired by Armenian President Armen Sarkisian and the country's government, which has declared October 11-12 nonworking days in the South Caucasus country.

La Francophonie is holding the summit this week in Armenia, where they are expected to select a new secretary general.

Jean, who has been in the top job at the organization of French-speaking nations since 2014, is facing an uphill climb as she seeks a second term.

After months of supporting her, the Canadian and Quebec governments announced this week that they would rally around a "consensus" candidate.

Michaelle Jean, left, Secretary General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie talks with other delegates during a meeting of African Union countries during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at U.N headquarters.

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"At a moment when we march toward the 50th anniversary of la Francophonie, let's ask ourselves here in Yerevan, in all conscience and in all responsibility, on which side of history do we want to be", Jean said.

"We have tremendous respect for Madame Jean's track record as Secretary General of la Francophonie, particularly as it relates to the education ‎and empowerment of women and girls", the spokesperson for Joly said.

Quebec Premier-designate Francois Legault tweeted today that his province will not support Jean and will instead join what he called the African consensus.

Thus with apparently limited global support and somewhat lukewarm Canadian support, Jean's re-election chances had been slim.

Observers say Canada made a geopolitical calculation in choosing to abandon Jean in favour of the African camp, as Ottawa eyes a seat at the UN Security Council in 2020.

Ms Mushikiwabo has already received the backing of French President Emmanuel Macron, a significant support since it is a tradition for the candidate backed by France to secure the position.

Federal Minister Mélanie Joly's attaché stated that Canada is "ready to join the consensus, as is the case in the Francophonie".