François Legault not supporting Michaëlle Jean's Francophonie 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

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.

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.

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

"Welcome to Armenia", Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said in his opening speech, delivered in French, to the dozens of leaders and representatives of member states of the International Organization of Francophonie who had gathered in Yerevan on October 11 for the two-day summit.

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

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

"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.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame pushed back against the criticism in an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday, saying that Jean's comments came across as bitter and angry, given consensus had formed around Mushikiwabo. "That's why I intend to support a candidacy from this continent", he said. They said that if a consensus emerged, Canada would join it to avoid having the summit overshadowed by a fight for the top job.

Jean has been dogged by accusations of excessive spending during her time as head of la Francophonie.

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

Legault tweeted Tuesday that his government would not support Jean and would join what he called the "African consensus". French President Emmanuel Macron had backed the Rwandan bid in a move widely seen as increasing that country's influence in Africa.

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.

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