Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Michaëlle Jean defeated in bid for second term to lead la Francophonie

Michaëlle Jean defeated in bid for second term to lead la Francophonie

Darren Ornitz / Reuters Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo of Rwanda addresses a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York September 26, 2015.

"La Francophonie must be feminist, and you were right, madame secretary general, not to give up in this fight".

"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.

On Tuesday, the Canadian and Quebec governments announced they were pulling support for Jean to remain the head of the worldwide organization of French-speaking nations, electing to support the "consensus" candidate instead.

Former governor general Michaelle Jean is showing no signs of withdrawing her candidacy for the top job at La Francophonie.

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

Several federal government sources recently told The Canadian Press the re-election of Jean, who was chosen in 2014 in part due to the absence of a clear African front-runner, would be "difficult".

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

"With respect to the choice of the next secretary general, Canada will join the consensus view as is the organisation's custom", Ms Joly said in a statement. She has called the media reports "smear campaigns, disinformation and defamation".

France is seen as wanting to support the Rwandan candidate to gain favour in Africa where its influence is waning to the advantage of China and others.

Ironically Rwanda, a former Belgian colony where French was the lingua franca, switched to English as the language of education in 2008 and joined the Commonwealth a year after.

Canada's joining of the consensus view is a huge boost for Minister Mushikiwabo who has already won support of French President Emmanuel Macron and was overwhelmingly ensorsed by the African Union's member States.

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