Mushikiwabo candidature for Francophonie job gets boost

Louise Mushikiwabo. / Internet photo

The candidature for Louise Mushikiwabo for the post of Secretary General of La Francophonie has received a major boost following the withdrawal of support by Canada to her only rival, Michaëlle Jean.

Jean, who is Canadian, is the current Secretary General of the body that brings together French speaking countries from across the world.

Besides the Canadian central government, Quebec, a city in Canada but also with a voting right among nations, announced Tuesday it would back Mushikiwabo, who is Africa’s candidate for the job.

The election is slated for Friday in Armenia, during a summit in which 54 countries are eligible to vote.

President Paul Kagame is expected to attend the summit.

The organization that has its headquarters in France, comprises 84 member states and governments; of these 54 states and governments are full members, four are associate members and 20 have observer status.

Reports from Canadian press indicate that Ottawa and Quebec made a last-minute change of heart and “decided to stop supporting Jean’s re-election rather than risk alienating its allies in Europe and Africa, who were united behind the candidacy of Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo”.

The final decision was made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and announced hours before he flew off late on Tuesday for the start of the summit, according to the reports.

Canadian officials had reiterated support for Jean’s candidacy as recently as Monday, the Canadian press says.

This position was reiterated by Canada’s Minister of Francophonie, Melanie Joly, who is already in Armenia for the summit.

In a written statement through her press secretary, she said; "We have tremendous respect for Madame Jean's track record as secretary general of la Francophonie, particularly as it relates to the education ‎and empowerment of women and girls. With respect to the choice of the next secretary general, Canada will join the consensus view, as is the organization's custom."

The consensual view, according to reports, is that of Mushikiwabo.

The only known country supporting Jean, according to media reports, is Haiti, the country where she hails.

Meanwhile, Mushikiwabo appreciated the support by Quebec in a tweet.

“Quebec's support for the African candidacy is highly appreciated; It is the illustration of positive solidarity in the francophone space,” she said on her timeline.

French President Emmanuel Macron had earlier in May this year endorsed Mushikiwabo’s candidature.



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