YEREVAN, Armenia – The prime minister Justin Trudeau gave a tribute to Michaëlle Jean, in her opening speech of the Summit of the Francophonie, on Thursday, a few hours before that his fate cannot be decided in Yerevan, Armenia. The Canadian was entitled to the same politeness on the part of the French president Emmanuel Macron, which supports yet his rival rwandan in the race for the leadership of the OIF.
“I want to emphasize that someone special, a friend, ( .. ) for his remarkable work at the head of the Francophonie. Michaelle has emerged as an outspoken advocate of women, including their right to education and advocating for their emancipation”, he said in front of an audience of heads of States and governments.
“His many accomplishments, as much to youth as to the rights of the person, have enriched not only our great organization, but our world. It gives impetus to the causes that we all hold to heart with her dedication and contagious energy,” added the prime minister.
The Trudeau government announced in the beginning of the week, on the eve of the opening of the summit of Yerevan, that he will accept the consensus developing around his rival. This candidate is the minister of foreign Affairs of Rwanda, Louise Mushikiwabo, who has garnered support from a slew of countries of the african Union as well as the support, determining, by the French president Emmanuel Macron.
Good player, the tenant of the Elysée palace has held to congratulate the one on which he has not placed a bet. “The Francophonie must be this space that fights for the rights of women – and here I want to acknowledge the work that has been done by Michaëlle Jean, to which I pay tribute, which is highly mobilized in this fight”, he exposed toward the end of his speech of forty minutes.
“The Francophonie must be a feminist! And you were right, madam secretary general, that nothing will give in to this fight,” quipped Emmanuel Macron.
A fierce fight
The chances of Michaëlle Jean to be re-appointed for a second term at the head of the international Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) are considered to be excessively thin, or even non-existent. The former governor general of Canada, refused, however, always to throw in the towel, Thursday, on the eve of the election to the leadership of the OIF.
His spokesman, Bertin Leblanc, explained on Tuesday that a “consensus implies a discussion that needs to be done in the rules” and that “there is no doubt that this discussion will take place between the heads of State and government behind closed doors.”
African leaders feel, however, a certain discomfort to have somehow been placed in front of the accomplished fact, according to a source familiar with the leadership campaign.
Some have even expressed directly from Michaëlle Jean that they were in a “position impossible”.
According to what was reported Tuesday by Radio France international (RFI), the former journalist and native of Haiti, had hoped to be able to count on the support of some 17 to 18 delegations within the OIF Friday. The media bases these statistics on the “one last score made Tuesday evening in Yerevan”.
A tribute to Aznavour
At the entrance of the complex Karen Demirdjian, where takes place the summit of the Francophonie, the music of Charles Aznavour, a son of Armenia, resounded on Thursday.
The summit, which opened a few days after the death of the monument of the song of offspring Armenian, and his contribution to the development of the French language was emphasized on stage by the prime minister Trudeau and president Macron.
“When I arrived in Armenia, I immediately thought of a great man that I liked a lot, a great lover of the French language, who died last week, the incomparable Charles Aznavour”, said the prime minister of Canada.
“In the days that followed his death, the francophones and francophiles of the world are united in grief through his work. This spirit of solidarity was perhaps the greatest tribute that we could have asked him to do,” he added.