Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praises Michaelle Jean at Francophonie summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praises Michaelle Jean at Francophonie summit

On the weekend, he said Jean was not planning on dropping out of the race.

After a four-year term marked by controversy, the former governor general was considered a long shot for re-election.

In the opinion of several observers, the outgoing secretary-general already had infinitesimal chances of being entrusted with the reins of the institution for a second term in the run-up to the summit on October 11 and 12.

In a speech today at the Francophonie summit, Jean urged representatives of member nations not to allow worldwide organizations to be used for partisan purposes.

On Thursday, she made a final plea to member nations to hold onto the post without naming her Rwandan rival, warning them that rights and democracy shouldn't take a back seat to partisan ambitions.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said that Mushikiwabo's victory is a "great pride for Africa and for Rwanda".

Rwanda has managed to secure support for Mushikiwabo's candidacy despite its poor record upholding democratic rights and freedom of the press.

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.

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Preparing to fly to the Francophonie summit in Yerevan, Armenia, Legault said in a statement that he "will not support the renewal of the mandate of Michaëlle Jean" to the post of secretary-general of La Francophonie.

Her spokesman, Bertin Leblanc, has said consensus must be reached by the heads of state and governments behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, a source close to Jean's campaign says some African leaders are uncomfortable with the idea of a done deal and have even told her directly that they find themselves in an impossible position.

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

It is also being suggested that behind the scenes, Jean is being quietly advised to withdraw her bid to prevent any ruffled feathers at the summit.

"La Francophonie must be the space that fights for the rights of women, and I want to salute the work that was done by Michaelle Jean, to whom I pay tribute, who strongly mobilized in this fight", Macron said near the end of his opening remarks.

A big part of the concert will be dedicated to famed French singer Charles Aznavour, the son of Armenian immigrants who died on October 1 at the age of 94.

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