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Canada backs Mushikiwabo Francophonie candidacy, abandons Michaëlle Jean

The Canadian and Quebec governments have abandoned its campaign to back Michaëlle Jean’s bid for a second mandate as the secretary-general of the Francophonie and poised to back Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

Liberal officials said the government decided to stop supporting Ms. Jean’s re-election rather than risk alienating its allies in Europe and Africa, who were united behind the Minister Mushikiwabo.

The summit of the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF), where the new secretary-general will be selected, begins in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Thursday.

The abrupt shift came after Canadian officials already in Armenia, including Francophonie Minister Mélanie Joly, recognized Ms. Jean had no chance of winning against Ms. Mushikiwabo, said the Liberal officials who were not authorized to speak publicly.

According to The Globe And Mail, 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. Liberal officials had reiterated Canada’s support for Ms. Jean’s candidacy as recently as Monday.

One of the Liberal officials said Ms. Joly informed Ms. Jean on Tuesday of Ottawa’s new position.

Quebec premier-designate François Legault, who will also attend the summit, agreed with the Canadian position, stating “the time has come for a different management style” at the OIF. Mr. Legault had earlier expressed his reservations about Ms. Jean’s candidacy.

Ms. Jean did not respond to requests for comment, according to the agency.

On the other hand, Mushikiwabo welcome the support by Canadian and Quebec governments stressing that it illustrate positive solidarity in Francophone space.

“The support of Quebec at the candidacy is highly appreciated, it is the illustration of positive solidality in Francophone space,” her tweet read in part.

Four years ago, when Jean was chosen as secretary general, there was no agreement on any one candidate from Africa. That’s not the case this year; African leaders are coalescing around Mushikiwabo. At the same time, Canada has no interest in taking a confrontational approach with France or the African Union as it conducts it own lobbying effort for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The Express News

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