Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
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Cut adrift by Canada, Michaelle Jean continues bid for Francophonie post

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

But Michaelle Jean, the former governor general and current holder of the top job at the worldwide body, showed no signs of abandoning her candidacy despite losing the support of her home country and province.

Darren Ornitz / Reuters Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo of Rwanda addresses a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York September 26, 2015.

Michaëlle Jean takes part in a plenary session at the Francophonie Summit in Yerevan, Armenia, on October 11, 2018.

After months of supporting her, the Canadian and Quebec governments announced this week that they would rally around a "consensus" candidate.

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

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

"I think it was outright wrong", Kagame said of Jean's message.

A spokesman for Jean said Wednesday he was surprised at the Canadian and Quebec governments' decision to back Mushikiwabo before the summit even opens. Sources said the Canadian government tried unsuccessfully to convince Jean that re-election was improbable. They said that if a consensus emerged, Canada would join it to avoid having the summit overshadowed by a fight for the top job. 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.

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.

Ms Mushikiwabo has already received the backing of French President Emmanuel Macron, a significant support since it is a tradition for the candidate backed by France to secure the position.

Ironically Rwanda, a former Belgian colony where French was the lingua franca, switched to English as the language of education in 2008 and joined the Commonwealth a year after.

Justin Trudeau is seeking to curry favour with African nations with a view towards collecting votes for Canada's bid for one of the temporary seats on the U.N. Security Council in 2020.

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