Voters in Sherbrooke have elected political newcomer Steve Lussier as their new mayor, pushing out Bernard Sévigny, who was seeking a third mandate.

This was Lussier's first time running for a seat at city council.

The 42-year-old mortgage development advisor and real estate developer campaigned on a promise of combing through the city's finances.

"I really feel like I'm in my element," an elated Lussier said from Sherbrooke city hall Sunday night.

Lussier, originally from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, ran as an independent, promising he'd only seek two mandates if he was elected mayor.

Bernard Sévigny

A chastened-looking Bernard Sévigny concedes defeat on Sunday evening, surrounded by candidates for his party Renouveau Sherbrookois. (Brigitte Marcoux/Radio-Canada)

Sévigny's defeat ends a 16-year career in municipal politics. He was first elected councillor in 2001.

The $50-million Well Inc. project, which the outgoing mayor pushed as a rejuvenation project for downtown Sherbrooke, was controversial from the start.

Fewer seats at city council

The other three candidates running for mayor were Hélène Pigot, Patrick Tétreault and Denis Pellerin.

The total number of seats at city hall has gone down in this election from 19 to 14, after Sherbrooke merged several districts in 2016, trimming the number of boroughs from six to four.

Lennoxville was the only borough left untouched, while others, including Brompton, lost their status.

Claude Charron, who ran on a platform of preserving Lennoxville's borough status, was elected borough president.

Charron said he's worried by Lussier's lack of political experience.

"It will be something else," Charron said. "They'll have to rely on councillors with experience.''  

Lussier also isn't comfortable in English, which may be a thorn in the side of some voters in Sherbrooke's only borough with bilingual status, but Charron said it wouldn't pose a problem.

"There's always a way to manage," he said. 

Claude Charron

Claude Charron, left, was elected Lennoxville borough president, replacing David Price who has retired. (Alison Brunette/CBC)