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Bruno Marchand elected Mayor of Québec City

Bruno Marchand was elected the new mayor of Québec City in a tight race after a long night marked by an unusual twist that kept city residents on the edge of their seats.

The original article (in French only): L'Actualité

Marie-Josée Savard was initially declared the winner early Sunday evening with a comfortable lead of several thousand votes. But that lead melted away as the count continued, with Marchand steadily gaining ground to finally take the lead.

Nonetheless, the results were close. Marchand won a majority by just over 800 votes with 32.3% of the vote. Savard’s team indicates she may request a recount.

The leader of the Québec Forte et Fière party said in his speech that “this election is still too early to call.” Marchand expressed his wish that “the new city council would be marked by optimism and a spirit of openness and collaboration among all members.”

The former director of Centraide Québec Chaudière-Appalaches and Bas-Saint-Laurent also retraced the evolution of his young political party, largely unknown to the general public a year ago.

Thinking she was the new mayor of Québec City, Savard had delivered a victory speech earlier that evening. Premier François Legault even congratulated her before retracting his remarks.

“I think I posted too fast. I will wait for the final results before congratulating the winner in Québec City,” the premier then wrote.

Marie-Josée Savard was the heir apparent of outgoing mayor Régis Labeaume, who decided to leave politics after 14 years in office. Savard was a municipal councillor under the Labeaume administration and served on the executive committee for eight years, including as vice-chair.

A total of eight candidates were vying for the mayor’s seat in Quebec City.

Jean-François Gosselin, leader of the official opposition at City Hall, finished third with 24.6% of the vote. Jackie Smith, head of Transition Québec, took fourth place with 6.6% of the vote, ahead of Jean Rousseau, head of Démocratie Québec, who received 3.9%.

The tramway project, one of Régis Labeaume’s legacy initiatives, was one of the main issues in the Québec City campaign. Most of the candidates for mayor were in favour of this major investment, albeit with some reservations. Only Gosselin, head of Québec 21, was opposed , proposing a light metro system instead.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, he had said that the ballot box issue for Québec City voters would be whether or not the tramway project should go ahead.

Frédéric Lacroix-Couture, The Canadian Press