Michaëlle Jean makes final plea in bid to keep top post as Francophonie summit begins

Michaëlle Jean is making a final public plea to hold on to her post as secretary general of the International Organization of la Francophonie.

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

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Jean says democracy, rights and freedoms should not take a back seat to deals between states or special interests.

The former Canadian governor general, who has held the top job at the organization of French-speaking nations since 2014, is facing an uphill battle as she seeks a second term.

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

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That candidate appears to be Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, who has the support of French President Emmanuel Macron and many African Union countries.

Traditionally, the selection of a secretary general is by agreement, not through a vote.

Jean has refused to back down, despite her diminishing chances of securing another term.

Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised Jean’s tenure as the summit of la Francophonie kicked off in the Armenian capital.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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