Équipe Denis Coderre has new leader but party name stays for now

Lionel Perez will guide Équipe Denis Coderre through a transition period — and help come up with a new name for the party.

Lionel Perez, city councillor for CDN-NDG, will lead party through transition period

Lionel Perez was named interim leader for Équipe Denis Coderre. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Lionel Perez is taking over as interim leader of Équipe Denis Coderre, after the man the party is named after stepped down following his election loss Sunday.

Perez, a city councillor for the Darlington district in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, will guide the party through a transition period — and help come up with a new name. 

While Denis Coderre is quitting municipal politics, his party still holds 25 of 65 seats on city council. Projet Montréal won a slim majority, for a total of 34.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Perez promised a strong opposition, one that would recognize the good deeds of Projet Montréal​ but take them to task when required.

Perez also denied the Coderre administration is leaving behind a $358-million budget shortfall, as Projet Montréal​ has suggested. He called the move by the incoming administration "the oldest trick in the book." 

Perez offered his take on Projet Montréal's "astonishing win" in a lengthy Facebook post earlier this week. He was surprisingly blunt about his party's own failings, saying the campaign suffered from "serious deficiencies." 

Projet Montréal, on the other hand, "picked a few key issues (no doubt after detailed polling) and hammered their message and convinced people (even though I factually disagree with many of their assertions)," he wrote.

"Since they could not beat us on our record, they made it into a referendum on Denis Coderre's personality instead. The omni-mayor's greatest asset became his greatest liability."

With files from Sean Henry