Michaelle Jean to vie for Francophonie post despite Canada, Quebec pulling support

Michaelle Jean

Michaelle Jean

Jean, who has been in the top job at the organization of French-speaking nations since 2014, is facing an uphill climb as she seeks a second term.

The Rwandan minister already enjoys the support of France and the African Union.

On Tuesday, the Canadian and Quebec governments announced they were pulling support for Jean to remain the head of the global organization of French-speaking nations, electing to support the "consensus" candidate instead.

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.

The 57-year old is widely perceived to be a competent diplomat, who has worked tirelessly with president Paul Kagame to make Rwanda a major player on the global stage.

But, Jean has refused to back down despite her chances of securing another term being described as slim. Sources said the Canadian government tried unsuccessfully to convince Jean that re-election was improbable.

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.

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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.

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.

Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the "remarkable work" done by the former governor general, who has focused on women, youth and human rights while in the post.

Over the past few months, Jean has had to try to defend herself against allegations of her improper and excessive spending. She will replace Canadian politician Michaelle Jean.

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

"La Francophonie must be feminist, and you were right, madame secretary general, not to give up in this fight".

The French-Armenian singer passed away on October 1 and his contribution to the French language and culture was highlighted by both Trudeau and Macron.

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