Judicial recount jeopardizes Quebec City opposition leader's place on council

A judge has authorized a recount for a seat at Quebec City council, which could jeopardize the victory of newly elected opposition leader Jean-François Gosselin.

Quebec court judge finds 'irregularities' in dozens of ballots cast for Jean-François Gosselin's running mate

Jean-François Gosselin will not be attending the first meeting of Quebec City's new council on Monday, as he awaits the results of a recount in Sainte-Thérèse-de-Lisieux. (Alice Chiche/Radio-Canada)

The man who is set to challenge Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume at city hall could find himself without a seat on council, before even being sworn in.

A Quebec court judge has authorized a recount in the Ste-Thérèse-de-Lisieux district, a seat that went to Jean-François Gosselin after the Nov. 5 election.

Gosselin came in second in the mayoral race with 27.6 per cent of vote. His running mate, Nancy Piuze, stepped aside who won against Équipe Labeaume's candidate, Marie France Trudel.

Trudel lost by 69 votes and filed a request for a recount, alleging a number of citizens may have voted twice at different polling stations.

Missing votes

Judge Pierre A. Gagnon ruled Friday that there were indeed sufficient irregularities to merit a recount.

In his ruling, Gagnon wrote the recount was necessary to "ensure the 138 ballots were justly rejected."

The judge also questioned why there were gaps between the number of ballots certain voting polls had at the beginning of the day, compared to when polls closed at 8 p.m.

The recount, which could take two days, will take place on Nov. 21 and 22.

Outcome to determine face of opposition

If Piuze's win is confirmed and Gosselin retains his running mate's seat, he will become the leader of the only opposition party to hold two seats at city council.

Another candidate with Gosselin's team, Stevens Mélançon, won under the banner of Québec 21.

Jean Rousseau was elected under the banner of Démocratie Québec, while Yvon Bussières won his seat as an independent, leaving 17 other seats to Équipe Labeaume out of a total of 21.

Results in Sainte-Thérèse-de-Lisieux:

Number of rejected ballots: 138.
Difference between two top candidates: 69.

​Jean-François Gosselin (Nancy Piuze, running mate): 4,991 votes.
Marie France Trudel: 4,922 votes.
Maude Grenier: 719 votes.
Quentin Toffano-Floury: 84 votes.
Patrice Fortin: 65 votes.
Fernard Dumont: 57 votes.