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Former governor general Michaelle Jean campaigning to head La Francophonie

Former Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean delivers a speech in Gatineau, Que. on Monday, July 7, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

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Former Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean delivers a speech in Gatineau, Que. on Monday, July 7, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

OTTAWA - Former governor general Michaelle Jean wants to become the next secretary general of La Francophonie, a network of governments that share French as a common language.

La Francophonie currently includes 56 member states and governments, as well as 19 observers.

Jean was campaigning Monday at an Ottawa hotel where members of La Francophonie were holding a parliamentary session.

She met with representatives of several countries to try to convince them to choose her to replace Abdou Diouf, the current secretary general of the international organization.

Jean, who was appointed chancellor of the University of Ottawa in 2012, focused on African representatives, including those from Burundi and Burkina Faso.

"The African countries have an ally in me," the Haitian-born Jean told reporters. "If I become secretary general of La Francophonie, it will certainly mean a continuity of what Diouf has done."

Jean, 56, has the support of the Conservative government, which along with Quebec and New Brunswick, are promoting her candidacy.

"She can bring people together, is a fine diplomat and has everything that's needed," International Development Minister Christian Paradis said Monday.

The next secretary general will be chosen at the next summit of La Francophone in Dakar, Senegal in November.

Jean served as governor general from 2005-2010.

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