Marie-Josée Savard concedes defeat after a crazy election night in Quebec


The candidate handpicked by former mayor Régis Labeaume was initially declared the winner, but ultimately lost to Bruno Marchand by 834 votes.

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QUEBEC РInitially declared the winner of the race for mayor of Quebec, Marie-Jos̩e Savard on Monday conceded defeat to her opponent, the political newcomer Bruno Marchand.

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In a statement released Monday by his camp, Savard, the candidate for former mayor Régis Labeaume handpicked to succeed him, admitted that in the final tally she had in fact lost against Marchand by 834 votes.

“The Marie-Josée Savard team congratulates Mr. Bruno Marchand for his victory in the electoral campaign for the post of mayor of Quebec and all the councilors elected to the municipal council,” said the press release.

“We are proud to see that 10 candidates from our team received the blessing of the citizens of their respective neighborhoods. We congratulate them on their great achievement and we wish them a mandate with many achievements.

The press release indicates that there will be no further comment from Savard, a veteran of the Quebec City Council who is now exonerated.

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Savard’s statement follows a roller coaster election night in which she was first declared the winner in the early evening by Radio-Canada, TVA and other media. Savard even gave a victory speech and received congratulations on Twitter from other politicians, including Prime Minister François Legault.

He then had to retract. The television networks too.

This is because Marchand’s share of the vote increased after Savard was declared the winner. Once the 1,500 polls reported, Marchand had passed Savard. In the end, Marchand obtained 59,580 votes (32.32%) while Savard obtained 58,746 votes (31.86%).

Savard’s campaign manager Patrice Drouin had pitched the idea of ​​calling for a recount of the ballots on Sunday night, but on Monday the vote was clear and any discussion about it disappeared.

This time, Legault’s congratulations went to the right winner, Marchand.

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And Radio-Canada, the first outlet to declare Savard the winner, posted a message on its website saying that although it “strictly follows the usual process”, in declaring Savard the winner, it is examining how he made such a mistake, which created a further domino effect concluding that Savard had won.

“We will seek the answers to all our questions to explain what happened,” said Radio-Canada. “We understand that this created an unfortunate situation for Marie-Josée Savard. We are sorry.”

Marchand, however, did not look back.

Bruno Marchand of the Forte et Fière party reacts after being declared the winner of the municipal election in Quebec City, in Quebec, on Sunday, November 7, 2021. Marchand beat Marie-Josée Savard in a very close race.
Bruno Marchand of the Forte et Fière party reacts after being declared the winner of the municipal election in Quebec City, in Quebec City, on Sunday, November 7, 2021. Marchand beat Marie-Josée Savard in a very close race. Photo by Jacques Boissinot /The Canadian Press

Early Monday morning, Marchand, a 38-year-old father of two who once ran the Centraide Quebec charity, got up early and in the streets of the capital to thank the voters who nominated him to power .

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It doesn’t work in a simple situation.

Although Marchand was elected mayor, Savard’s party elected 10 city councilors. The Quebec party Forte et Fière de Marchand elected only six, which means that it will govern in a minority situation and will have to negotiate with the opposition to get things done.

This is something Almighty Labeaume never had to worry about.

Quebec 21, the party led by candidate Jean-François Gosselin, who placed third in the mayoral race, elected four councilors (Gosselin resigned as leader on Sunday) and the new pro-environment party led by Jackie Smith , Transition Québec, elected one.

In an interview with Radio-Canada on Tuesday, Marchand did not rule out placing certain opposition advisers on his executive committee.

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Like Savard, Marchand supports Quebec’s new public tramway project initially announced by Labeaume in 2018, but he said he wanted to review 10 elements of the project.

Marchand is unknown to the government of the Coalition Avenir Québec, which was close to Labeaume and Savard. The CAQ government wants to build a tunnel between Quebec and the South Shore of Lévis to unclog the bridges, but none of the candidates in the municipal elections has taken a position on the controversial plan.

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