OTTAWA—The Canadian and Quebec governments announced Tuesday they are pulling their support for former governor general Michaëlle Jean to remain atop the international organization of French-speaking nations, backing instead the “consensus” candidate from Africa.
Jean — who has held the top position since 2014 — is up against Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo when members choose a new secretary general at la Francophonie’s summit in Armenia on Oct. 11 to 12.
The ex-governor general was considered a long shot to keep her position after France and the African Union publicly backed Mushikiwabo.
Quebec premier-designate François Legault tweeted Tuesday that his government would not support Jean and would join what he called the “African consensus.”
Hours before he was scheduled to board Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plane for the summit, Legault released a written statement saying, “Africa has enormous potential, both for our economy and for the future of the French language. That is why I intend to support a candidacy from this continent.”
Mushikiwabo reacted to Legault’s statement by tweeting, “Quebec’s support for the African candidacy is highly appreciated; it is the illustration of positive solidarity in the French-speaking world!”
A spokesperson for the federal minister responsible for la Francophonie, Melanie Joly, said in an email Tuesday that Canada would also support the “consensus” candidate.