Former Liberal MP Denis Coderre is projected to be the winner of the Montreal mayoral race. CBC
Only an hour after polls closed in a hotly contested race for mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre is the projected winner.
CBC-Radio-Canada projects Coderre to win the seat, left without an incumbent after the resignation of two mayors in less than a year.
Newcomer Mélanie Joly is in second place, very closely followed by Projet Montréal's Richard Bergeron. Coalition Montreal's Marcel Côté trails in fourth place.
Côté was the first to concede defeat tonight. The economist who headed a team largely composed of Vision Montreal candidates thanked his candidates and remained steadfast that Montreal needed a change "from the roots up."
"I hope the new mayor, who I congratulate, recognizes that Montreal needs a profound restructuring. The population has made its choice. I was not able to convince the majority of the population."
The other candidates are expected to speak later this evening.
Labeaume victory in Quebec City
Meanwhile, the popular, incumbent mayor in Quebec City was one of the first to officially regain his seat today in Quebec's province-wide municipal elections.
Régis Labeaume, who was first elected as mayor in 2007, was declared the winner within 10 minutes of the polls closing at 8 p.m. ET.
While voters in the province's capital had a familiar face on the ballot, in Montreal, where two mayors resigned in past year, the choice was more diverse and pressing. It was the first time since 1986 that no sitting mayor was on the ballot.
In more than 300 municipalities, local leaders were re-elected without opposition, leaving about 800 municipalities to choose their candidates.
There were several key races across the province, including in Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Levis and Trois-Rivières.
Province-wide 13,247 candidates ran for municipal office, a jump of four per cent compared to 2009.
End of campaigns
On Saturday, most candidates wrapped up the 40-day campaign period with public appearances to encourage people to cast their ballots.
The Union of Quebec Municipalities said it hoped at least 50 per cent of eligible voters would cast ballots by the time polls closed.
As of 5 p.m., the last time turnout numbers were reported, 34.19 per cent of Montrealers voted according to Elections Montreal.
In the 2009 municipal election, only 45 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot across the province.
In the wake of a higher than expected turnout for advance polls last Sunday, the chief electoral officer said the counting of advance poll ballots started at 6 p.m.
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