Rwanda: Francophonie Summit Picks New Secretary-General Today

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praises Michaelle Jean at Francophonie summit

Jean was the first secretary-general not to come from Africa since the position was created in 1997.

"Are we ready to accept that global organizations are used for partisan purposes?" But in a final attempt to sway the 54 voting members Thursday, Jean warned that rights and democracy shouldn't take a back seat to partisan ambitions.

Members of la Francophonie will choose between Jean - who has held the top spot since 2014 - and Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo during the organization's summit in Armenia on October 11-12.

After months on the campaign trail that took her to different countries across the world, today is the moment of truth for Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

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.

Trudeau also paid tribute to the late Charles Aznavour, whose music was playing throughout the Karen Demirchyan complex in Yerevan, where the event is taking place.

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"Louise Mushikiwabo's candidacy highlights development of the French-speaking community, and regarding differences with France, especially their role in the genocide against the Tutsi, we will discuss it during the bilateral relations, " Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda's secretary of state, said in June as the country its leadership bid for La Francophonie.

Her spokesman, Bertin Leblanc, has said consensus must be reached by the heads of state and governments behind closed doors. "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.

Mushikiwabo hailed the return of an African to the office.

Earlier Tuesday, Quebec's premier-designate Francois Legault tweeted that there was a need for what he called a new style of management for the organization, and that his province would support African countries' consensus.

In the run up to the Francophonie vote, opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was unexpectedly freed from jail, and government critic Diane Rwigara was granted bail in an ongoing trial after a year in prison.

Jean had been dogged by stories of excessive spending and questionable expenses during her mandate. "I will try to do everything possible so that young people can express themselves and their talents, especially in Africa", she said.

"When I arrived in Armenia, I immediately thought of a great man I loved so much, a great lover of the French language who died last week, the incomparable Charles Aznavour", Trudeau said.

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