Science

Cut adrift by Canada, Michaelle Jean continues bid for Francophonie post

Cut adrift by Canada, Michaelle Jean continues bid for Francophonie post”

The Canadian and Quebec governments announced Tuesday they are pulling their support for former governor general Michaëlle Jean to remain atop the worldwide organization of French-speaking nations, backing instead the "consensus" candidate from Africa.

Her election is a victory for both Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame and French President Emmanuel Macron, who have sought to improve relations between their two nations, long fraught due to Kigali's accusations of French complicity in the 1994 genocide that killed at least 800,000, mostly Tutsis.

Mushikiwabo already had the support of France - which is the main funder of la Francophonie - and many African Union countries.

Legault tweeted Tuesday that his government would not support Jean and would join what he called the "African consensus".

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.

But, Jean has refused to back down despite her chances of securing another term being described as slim.

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.

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

According to a survey by Radio France International, the Haitian-born Jean had the support of 17 or 18 delegations on the eve of the summit.

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

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

Trudeau and Jean had a one-on-one meeting upon the prime minister's arrival in Yerevan but no details were released.

Despite not backing her, Macron also paid homage to Jean's fight for women's rights.

It's been a somewhat contentious period for Michaelle Jean as the head of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

Trudeau also paid tribute to the late Charles Aznavour, whose music was playing throughout the Karen Demirchyan complex in Yerevan, where the event is taking place. "This momentum of solidarity was perhaps the greatest tribute that could have been made to him".



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