Projet Montréal elects Valérie Plante as new leader

Valérie Plante has been chosen to lead Projet Montréal into the municipal election next November against Mayor Denis Coderre.

Polls closed in leadership race Sunday afternoon

Valérie Plante replaces Luc Ferrandez, who has been interim leader of Projet Montréal since 2014. (Radio-Canada)

Valérie Plante has been chosen to lead Projet Montréal into the municipal election next November against Mayor Denis Coderre.

Plante was up against Guillaume Lavoie, a fellow city councillor, in the Official Opposition's leadership race.

Both have been with the party since 2013. They promoted similar platforms that focused on helping public transit users and developing social housing.

The vote was close. Plante won Sunday by a count of 998 votes to Lavoie's 919. When the results were announced, party officials said there would be no recount. 

"The real work starts now," Plante said in her victory speech.

"We're ready for power."

Plante replaces Luc Ferrandez, who has been interim leader of Projet Montréal since 2014.

Valérie Plante said Montrealers are 'thirsty' for a mayor that listens to them. (Elysha Enos/CBC)

The race came down to the pair after the third candidate, councillor François Limoges, backed out of the leadership race in mid-November.

Plante, a city councillor for the Sainte-Marie district, is also a city council vice-president.

The new leader is tasked with expanding Projet Montréal's reach beyond its traditional strongholds, such as the Plateau and Rosemont, to beat out Coderre next year.

'A viable alternative' 

Following her victory, Plate said she met Montrealers "thirsty for change" during the leadership race, who were concerned with issues like affordable housing and making sure public transportation remains efficient. 

"They're thirsty for something new, thirsty for a mayor that works for them," she said. 

Plante said that Coderre and his administration have been slow to respond to issues like keeping cyclists safe and only reacting after cyclists are killed. 

"I joined this leadership race because I'm ready to beat Denis Coderre," said Plante. 

If elected in 2017, Plante, who would become the city's first elected female mayor, said that she would turn Montreal into a city that inspires other metropolises. 

Coderre congratulated Plante on social media on Sunday night. 

In a news release, he said they shared a similar objective, improving the quality of life for Montrealers. He said they might disagree on how to make Montreal a better place, but that they will work together at City Hall.