A primer on Projet Montréal's leadership race
'I think we are the alternative to Denis Coderre,' party president says ahead of 2017 vote
Projet Montréal officially launched its leadership race on Monday as the party looks to oust Denis Coderre in next year's municipal election.
The Opposition party has been without a permanent leader since its founder, Richard Bergeron, joined Coderre's executive committee in 2014.
Luc Ferrandez, borough mayor for Plateau-Mont-Royal and the party's interim leader, has already said he won't seek the top post.
The party held a news conference on Monday to kick off the race.
Only one person, Coun. François Limoges, has officially entered the race.
Party officials expect more people to enter before the Oct. 15 deadline from both inside and outside the party.
'We will be ready'
The party faces an uphill battle in trying to dethrone Coderre. While the high-profile mayor has been hampered by spending controversies of late, opinion polls indicate he remains popular with voters.
Bergeron finished third in the 2013 election, after Coderre and upstart Mélanie Joly, who went on to become a Liberal MP and Canada's Heritage Minister.
Projet Montréal president Nathalie Goulet said the key this time will be to lay out the party's alternate vision, which centres around sustainable development.
"I think we are the alternative to Denis Coderre," Goulet told Radio-Canada.
"We will be ready to take him on."
Projet Montréal is also hoping to take control of districts like Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Verdun and Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce while retaining its majority in Plateau-Mont-Royal, the Southwest and Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie.
Who's running, and who's not
A number of high-profile candidates whose names were floated — including Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre and NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice — have already said they won't be running for the leadership.
The next municipal election is in November 2017.
Here's a breakdown of who will potentially be vying for the position.
François Limoges, councillor for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, signalled he would run last May.
Limoges, a former strategic communications consultant with a long history in municipal politics, joined Projet Montréal in 2006 and was first elected in 2009.
Valérie Plante was elected as a councillor for the Ville-Marie borough in 2013. She has degrees in anthropology and museum studies, and has served as the party's downtown and tourism critic. She is considering running for the leadership.
Guillaume Lavoie, also a councillor in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, is thought to be a solid candidate for the leadership. But he hasn't said whether he will run.
Based on a report by Radio-Canada's François Cormier