Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Former GG Michaelle Jean defeated in Francophonie re-election bid

Former GG Michaelle Jean defeated in Francophonie re-election bid

The foreign minister replaces Canada's Michaelle Jean, who had sought re-election for the top job at the International Organization of Francophonie.

Rwanda's foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo. who not only has the support of African nations, but of France itself.

Kagame says he has confidence in Mushikiwabo, who has the support of France and several African Union countries.

Heads of State and Government of the organisation's member countries are set to vote today, choosing between Mushikiwabo and incumbent Jean Michaëlle, a Canadian of Haitian origin.

Mushikiwabo hailed the return of an African to the office.

Macron said in March he wanted French to be more widespread.

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Mushikiwabo did not name Jean in her acceptance speech, but she said "each bill spent is important" and no expense should be taken lightly.

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.

Some observers have said Canada made a geopolitical calculation in abandoning Jean in favour of the African candidate, hoping it would help its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2020.

In the run up to the Francophonie vote, opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was unexpectedly freed from jail, and government critic Diane Rwigara was granted bail in an ongoing trial after a year in prison.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec premier-designate Francois Legault took part in a family photo at the Francophonie summit in Yerevan, Armenia on Thursday.

"That is simply the way things unfolded".

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In a speech today at the Francophonie summit, Jean urged representatives of member nations not to allow global organizations to be used for partisan purposes.

But embittered by the legacy of France's role in the genocide, Kagame, whose Tutsi rebels ended the massacre, ditched French in favor of English in Rwanda's schools in 2010.

A spokesman for Jean today expressed surprise at the Canadian and Quebec governments decision to back Mushikiwabo.

"La Francophonie must be the space that fights for the rights of women, and I want to salute the work that was done by Michaelle Jean, to whom I pay tribute, who strongly mobilized in this fight", Macron said near the end of his opening remarks. "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".

For Universite de Montreal researcher Jocelyn Coulon, the tense battle over the secretary general post should serve as a lesson to the organization.

The general theme of La Francophonie summit is "Living together in solidarity, shared humanistic values, and respect for diversity: a source of peace and prosperity in La Francophonie", while the logotype of the summit is pomegranate as a symbol of peace and prosperity throughout the francophone area.

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