Friday, 15 February, 2019

Canada backs down on continued leadership of "La Francophonie"

Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.
LUDOVIC MARIN  AFP  Getty Images Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo. LUDOVIC MARIN AFP Getty Images
Theresa Hayes | 13 October, 2018, 10:58

The announcement to no longer support Jean's re-election came on early Tuesday after Joly arrived in Armenia for a la Francophonie summit.

Created in 1970, the Francophonie brings together 85 states and governments, many of them in Africa, representing 274 million French speakers, according to the organization.

He further tweeted that the designation of Mushikiwabo as secretary general of the Francophonie is victory of a dynamic, ambitious and relevant Francophonie in the world's politics and business.

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.

In a closed session at the organization's biennial summit in Armenia, members of the organization of French-speaking nations chose Louise Mushikiwabo to replace Jean.

But Michaelle Jean, the former governor general and current holder of the top job at the worldwide body, showed no signs of abandoning her candidacy despite losing the support of her home country and province.

African countries make up the bulk of the 54 states and member governments that voted Friday.

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

The appointment was confirmed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office, which said there was "consensus" for the Rwandan lawmaker.

"I think it was outright wrong", Kagame said of Jean's message.

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

Mushikiwabo has support from France and the African Union countries, leaving Jean's chances of retaining the top job slim, particularly without Canada and Quebec in her corner.

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. "That is why I intend to support a candidacy from this continent".

"Michaelle affirmed herself as an ardent defender of women, notably by asserting their right to education and fighting for their emancipation", Trudeau told dignitaries, lauding her dedication and contagious energy.

Canada may have chosen to abandon Jean partly for geopolitical and strategic reasons as it tries to secure a seat on the UN Security Council in 2020.