Former GG Michaelle Jean defeated in Francophonie re-election bid

13 October, 2018, 20:58 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.
LUDOVIC MARIN  AFP  Getty Images

Delegations from Canada and Quebec arrived in Armenia Wednesday ahead of the summit of la Francophonie, intent on putting the controversy over the election of a secretary general behind them.

Jean lost her bid for a second term as secretary general of la Francophonie on Friday, as member nations opted for Rwanda's foreign minister to take up the mantle going forward.

Jean still does not seem to believe her fate is sealed, suggesting through a spokesman on the eve of the two-day summit in the Armenian capital of Yerevan that no such consensus exists.

Mushikiwabo shares a light moment with Presidents Denis Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo (left) and Idriss Déby Itno of Chad at the Francophonie Heads of State and Government Summit in Yerevan, Armenia.

On the weekend, he said Jean was not planning on dropping out of the race. Among la Francophonie's 54 full members, only Haiti - her country of birth - continues to back her, he said. "I'll confirm she'll be there until the end and probably beyond", Leblanc said at the time. "But I doubt that".

A summit of the world community of French-speaking countries has kicked off in Yerevan, with France's President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attending.

Trudeau's office did not tell the media about the meeting beforehand and would not say what was discussed.


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

Jean, appointed to the post in 2014, was the only secretary general to not hail from Africa since the post was created in 1997.

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

Earlier Tuesday, Quebec's premier-designate Francois Legault tweeted that there was a need for what he called a new style of management for the organization, and that his province would support African countries' consensus.

A spokesperson for Melanie Joly, the minister who oversees Canadian engagement in la Francophonie, said in an email that Canada would be supporting the "consensus view" on who should head the organization - Mushikiwabo has already garnered the support of France and the African Union.

Over the past few months, Jean has had to try to defend herself against allegations of her improper and excessive spending.

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