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Published on December 10, 2014
Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with his Senegalese counterpart (excerpts)

Dakar, November 30, 2014

Q. – Yesterday you made a statement to explain that the rules must be observed; you recalled what happened in Burkina Faso. But you didn’t say who those remarks were aimed at. So obviously people think of the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo; people may think of Togo; people may think of Gabon. Could you be more specific, so we really know who you meant to address? (…)

THE PRESIDENT – The principles, by definition, are aimed at everyone and not one country in particular or one person who might stand as a candidate. These principles are those of Francophony – i.e. values of pluralism, freedom and democracy. And it was in the name of those values that Secretary General Abdou Diouf intervened in a number of situations: only recently in Burkina Faso, where we ensured that the principle of elections and above all of respect for the constitution prevailed. And here I want to explain myself. It’s not about upholding constitutions for the sake of constitutions. There may be constitutional revisions, but when a constitution has been adopted by a people and rules have been set for presidential election candidatures, then there can be no question of changing the constitutional system on the eve of the ballot.

That’s what happened in Burkina Faso, and we saw the reactions it sparked.

France’s position is not to preach, in the name of some grandiose idea. France works for the values we uphold together in the French-speaking world, values that France has always proclaimed. And, I’d say, on any continent – that is, all the countries of the world which have to ensure democracy is fully implemented. When we combat terrorism, we do so in the name of democracy; we don’t do so in the name of keeping this or that head of state in place. (…)./.