Rwandan foreign minister elected Francophonie head

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Michaelle Jean at the headquarters of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie in Paris France

Jean lost her bid for a second term as secretary general of la Francophonie on Friday, as member nations opted for Rwanda's foreign minister to take up the mantle going forward.

After months of supporting her, the Canadian and Quebec governments announced earlier this week that they would rally around "consensus" candidate, Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

"Africa has emerged as the engine of the Francophonie", said the canadian Prime minister, Justin Trudeau, warning, however, that Ottawa "will continue to promote and defend (...) the rights of the individual and the French language", referring to the criticism about the appointment of Ms. Mushikiwabo.

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

Analysts of the elections say that, so far, Mushikiwabo is expected to enjoy a landslide victory as even Canada, where her competitor hails from, has since endorsed her.

La Francophonie is holding the summit this week in Armenia, where they are expected to select a new secretary general. Jean asked. "Are we ready to accept that democracy, rights and freedoms are reduced to mere words, that we make them meaningless in the name of realpolitik?"

Michaelle Jean made a public plea to hold on to her post as secretary general of la Francophonie Thursday, urging member nations not to allow the defence of rights and democracy to take a back seat to partisan ambitions. La Francophonie has 54 full member states and governments. France is home to an estimated 500,000 ethnic Armenians, and sizable Armenian communities also live in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, and other Francophone countries.

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The Rwandan government, of which Mushikiwabo is a high-ranking member, has been accused by various humanitarian groups of flouting democratic rights and press freedoms.

Rwanda's human rights record and a decision to replace French with English as the official language in 2008, were pointed out as issues that dent its leadership credentials.

French President Emmanuel Macron left a touching note in the book of honorable guests when visiting the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan on Thursday, October 11.

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

"The Francophonie is there to weigh in on matters whether it is in the heart of the United Nations or in our regional organisations", said Mushikiwabo, who takes over in January for a four-year term.

"It must be reformed to make it more transparent, which will give more credibility to the person elected".

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