Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praises Michaelle Jean at Francophonie summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praises Michaelle Jean at Francophonie summit

"Together with the Diaspora we will continue Charles Aznavour's struggle for the worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide".

Canada also had to consider its relationship with France - President Emmanuel Macron had backed the Rwandan bid in a move widely seen as increasing that country's influence in Africa.

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

"Are we ready to accept that global organizations are used for partisan purposes?"

The appointment sealed on the second day of the summit of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) in Armenia, will be regarded as a win for Rwanda, France and the African continent.

In July, African francophone countries officially rallied behind Mushikiwabo, a position consistent with their policy of backing an African candidate sensitive to the needs of states that comprise more than half of the OIF membership. But in a final attempt to sway the 54 voting members Thursday, Jean warned that rights and democracy shouldn't take a back seat to partisan ambitions. Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, was elected with almost 99 per cent of the votes in 2017.

Rwanda's human rights record and a decision to replace French with English as the official language in 2008, were pointed out as issues that dent its leadership credentials.

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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.

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.

But Trudeau denied that Canada abandoned Jean in exchange for African or French support for the Security Council bid, saying the government had wanted a second term for Jean.

Jean has been dogged by accusations of excessive spending during her time as head of la Francophonie.

"I imagine that Madame Jean thinks that she has to prove herself, and she's doing this on principle", Coulon said.

The campaign took Mushikiwabo to; Madagascar, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Senegal, Cameroon, Mauritania (during AU Summit), Guinea, Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, Armenia, Lebanon and Tunisia.

At the dedication of the Charles Aznavour House and Cultural Center, Macron told those gathered that he and Aznavour were scheduled to meet at the ceremony, but alas the great singer's death on October 1 prevented him from carrying out that promise.

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