Monday, 17 December, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praises Michaelle Jean at Francophonie summit

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
Cary Marshall | 13 October, 2018, 02:44

Canada has sent a signal that Rwanda's Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo could win the post of the Secretary General of the International Organisation of the French Speaking Nations (IOF).

Both Canada and Quebec said they would back the "consensus candidate", pulling their support for Jean earlier this week.

"A consensus implies a debate that is held according to the standards", Bertin Leblanc said.

"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.

Jocelyn Coulon, a political scientist at the Universite de Montreal, said Jean finds herself completely isolated.

Ahead of the polls, only Canada and her native country Haiti had expressed support for Ms Jean.

The appointment was confirmed this morning by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office.

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

"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.

Traditionally, the election of a secretary general is reached by consensus, not by vote.

On June 30, 2018, Mushikiwabo was endorsed by the Executive Council of the African Union for the candidacy of the post of Secretary General of la Francophonie.

Prime Minister Trudeau representing Canada will be at the OIF along gathering in Armenia this Friday, along with the federal minister for La Francophonie, Melanie Joly, and Francois Legault, the newly elected Premier of Quebec. Quebecor media outlets reported she spent $500,000 renovating her rented Paris residence, as well as $20,000 on a piano, but she's defended the spending in interviews.

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. French President Emmanuel Macron has backed her, but four former French ministers responsible for the la Francophonie signed an open letter last month saying Mushikiwabo has no place at the head of the organization.

And in 2010, French was replaced by English as the national official language in Rwanda, particularly in the education curriculum.

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