Québec Solidaire wins Montreal's Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne byelection
Québec Solidaire's Guillaume Cliche-Rivard has won the byelection in the Montreal riding of Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne.
The seat belonged to former Liberal Party leader Dominique Anglade. She resigned after her party's underwhelming performance in the October election, taking just under 15 percent of the popular vote.
After the polls closed Monday at 8 p.m., Cliche-Rivard took a commanding lead over the 10 other candidates who were all vying for a seat in the National Assembly.
When all the ballots were counted, Cliche-Rivard had 44.5 per cent of the vote, with 7,897 votes.
Cliche-Rivard, who is an immigration lawyer, took second place in the Oct. 3 election, losing to Anglade who had held the Liberal stronghold since 2015.
This time around, Cliche-Rivard's biggest contender was Liberal candidate Christopher Baenninger, who came second, with 28.96 per cent of the vote — 5,139 votes.
Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne has been a riding since 1992, following the merger of the ridings of Saint-Henri, created in 1922, and Sainte-Anne, created in 1912. There are about 57,400 registered voters in the riding.
In the lead-up to Monday's byelection, leaders of QS and the Liberals had been taking jabs at each other.
"For the defence of rights and freedoms, we cannot afford a member of Québec solidaire," said Marc Tanguay, interim leader of the Liberals.
He has criticized QS's support of Bill 96, the CAQ's language reform law. He has also called QS out for having Sol Zanetti in its ranks. He was the former leader of Option Nationale, which pushed for an independent Quebec.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson of QS, said it's clear this byelection won't force a change in leadership at the National Assembly, but it will choose who is best suited to oppose the CAQ government.
"We will have to work hard, we are very aware of that," he said. "But I think we have an excellent candidate."
Voters like Sarah Bakhty were among those in QS's corner on Monday. She predicted a lower voter turnout, with more politically engaged residents heading to the polls and potentially flipping the script on the Liberals.
"I think it's definitely going to be close between the Liberals and QS," said Bakhty. "Hopefully, some change can happen. I think it's time for new ideas and new values to be put to the forefront."
Thierry Arsenault lives abroad, but happened to be back in town on Monday.
He took the opportunity to vote in the byelection, he said, and while admitting it was hard to predict who would win, QS has "been on the rise all over the central island."
"There's hope for them to do better," he said. "They're doing better and better all the time."
Tony Manolikakis said he has been following the campaign as best as he can, learning as much as he could about the new Liberal candidate. He said he was already familiar with the QS candidate because he also ran in the last election.
"I feel like the Liberal Party feels rudderless, a little bit. A little bit lacking in direction, not really engaging people," Manolikakis said.
The Parti Québécois candidate, Andréanne Fiola, received 11.41 per cent of the votes (2,025 votes). The CAQ candidate, Victor Pelletier, came away with 9.36 per cent of the votes (1,661 votes) and the Quebec Conservative Party candidate, Lucien Koty, received 2.69 per cent of the votes (478 votes).
For more detailed results, consult the Élections Québec website.