Gracia Kasoki Katahwa surprises Lionel Pérez to be elected mayor of Côte-des-Neiges-NDG – Montreal | The Canadian News

Valérie Plante’s return as mayor of Montreal was not the only devastating defeat for Denis Coderre’s Ensemble Montreal party.

On Sunday night, Lionel Pérez declared victory over Projet Montréal candidate Gracia Kasoki Katahwa in the Côte-des-Neiges-NDG mayoral race, but the votes had not yet been counted.

After all that was said and done, Projet Montréal won by a few dozen votes.

Katahwa was only declared the winner on Monday morning. When Plante learned of his candidate’s unlikely victory as he was wrapping up a press conference just before noon, he screamed with joy.

“We come back home! We’re coming home, NDG-Côte-des-Neiges, ”she exclaimed, hugging and high-fiving the team members around her.

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Katawa, a former nurse at Jewish General and St. Mary’s Hospitals, said she had a similar reaction when she heard the news.

“I screamed!” he said, before bursting into laughter of joy.

Their level of enthusiasm probably had something to do with Perez prematurely declaring victory Sunday night.

“I am very proud of the campaign that I led locally, it obviously resonated with the population,” he told Global News at Ensemble Montreal’s election night venue in the district on Sunday.

Leading by several hundred votes about an hour after the polls closed, Pérez called himself the winner. So did some media organizations, including Global News.

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However, as the night progressed and more votes were counted, Katawa kept reducing the lead.

“My team told me, ‘You know, hang on. We’re not sure this is over yet, ‘”he said.

Morning came and Pérez’s lead continued to decline. After the last polling station was counted, the former nurse had won by 83 votes. The margin of victory was later changed to 177 votes.

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“We made history today,” Katahwa said. “Côte-des-Neiges-NDG chose an administration from Projet Montreal, and that means a lot to us. It’s very, very important to make sure that we can get on with the work that we have to do here. “

NDG councilman Peter McQueen was re-elected and said he was comforting Katahwa when things looked bleak. He knew that the votes in his friendly district of Projet Montreal would be counted later.

“I was sure she was going to climb and get close,” he told Global News.

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A count is not automatic. Elections Montreal explains that it should be requested by someone who believes there was foul play or an inaccurate count. On Monday, Pérez did not confirm that he intended to order one. He was not available to comment on the final result.

Former Snowdon councilman Marvin Rotrand, a Perez ally, said he believes there will be a recount.

“This is a loss for Montreal for a number of reasons,” Rotrand said. “Lionel Pérez is the obvious person to continue as leader of the opposition. I think that almost everyone considers him a gentleman, intelligent, forceful and with an extremely good knowledge of municipal governance ”.

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He wondered how many people in the area even know Katahwa.

Meanwhile, the new mayor plans to start immediately.

Rotrand criticized her for living in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, but Katahwa explained Monday that she had grown up in NDG.

“I come from here and I had to leave because I had to go back to school full time and housing can be expensive here. That’s why I had to go, ”he explained.

One of her first orders of the day will be to return to the neighborhood where she grew up and attack the problem that forced her to leave.

Click to play video: 'Quebec City mayoral race winner changes overnight, announcers apologize'

Quebec City mayoral race winner changes overnight, announcers apologize

Quebec City mayoral race winner changes overnight, announcers apologize

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