Oops, he did it again. Denis Coderre announced that he will be quitting politics at a short press conference at his campaign headquarters on Friday afternoon.
"I'm quitting political life and I will not be head of the opposition," said Coderre.
The former and would-be mayor ran his campaign with plenty of promises, a lot of bravado, some flip-flops and a scandal peppered in for good measure.
In the last days of the campaign, Coderre was dogged by accusations about his lack of transparency over his past income. He never seemed to recover after that, progressively (regressively?) losing ground to Valérie Plante's Projet Montréal in polls leading up to Election Day.
In the mayoral vote, Coderre only attained 37.97% of the vote share and his Ensemble Montréal party was swept in many key boroughs by Projet Montréal.
In his 2017 campaign, Coderre also lost by a significant margin to Plante. He quit politics then, as well.
Today, Coderre was less than effusive about his future plans. "I'm going to do other things," he explained.
"Forty years in public life, 12 electoral campaigns, about 16 years in Ottawa... as mayor I contributed to the renaissance of Montreal after past corruption as you'll remember [...] I'm very proud of my team."
Despite being the official opposition at city hall, Ensemble Montréal is now left without a leader. Former party leader Lionel Perez also lost his seat in NDG and there's no clear succession path at the moment.
"Montreal is not a village, it's a large city with vibrant neighbourhoods [...] I love it with all my heart," said Coderre.
"We're looking towards the future and I'm very proud of what I was able to accomplish this past year."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Women will lead five of Quebec's eight largest cities following the 2021 municipal elections.
The biggest headline of the night may have been Valérie Plante's triumph over old foe Denis Coderre in Montreal, but across the province, the faces of municipal politics have become more gender-balanced.
According to the latest counts and projections, France Bélisle (Gatineau), Catherine Fournier (Longueuil), Évelyne Beaudin (Sherbrooke) and Julie Dufour (Saguenay) are all also on their way to their respective (and figurative) city hall corner offices.
In Quebec City, it seemed for a while like Marie-Josée Savard would join them. Multiple outlets had even called the election for her until the vote count for her opponent surged into the evening. Bruno Marchand ultimately claimed victory.
Mayor Plante commented on the historic nature of her second mandate in her victory speech Sunday night.
"Four years ago, Montrealers elected the first woman mayor in the history of the City of Montreal," she said.
"Tonight, they told us again, 'yes, this mayor, we're going to continue to work with her, we trust her!'"
This year, for the first time, Montrealers will have two women leading the city, as Projet Montréal's Dominique Ollivier is set to take over as president of the Executive Committee.
Élections Montréal has not declared a winner as of the time of writing. But Plante was leading Coderre with 51.77% of the vote as of 9:33 p.m.
Quebec Premier François Legault congratulated Plante on Twitter, saying he'd continue to work with her "on the issues that affect the metropolis."
Je tiens \u00e0 f\u00e9liciter @Val_Plante pour sa victoire de ce soir et son \u00e9lection \u00e0 titre de mairesse de Montr\u00e9al. Nous allons continuer de collaborer\u00a0sur les enjeux qui touchent la m\u00e9tropole.
In her victory speech, Mayor Plante expressed pride that Montrealers had once again elected a woman to lead the city and said this election proved that the rise of Projet Montréal in 2017 wasn't a fluke.
"You have given us the privilege and honour to be your administration once again," Plante said during a portion of her speech in English.
"You can count on us to be there, to listen, to represent all of you."