Kennedy wins in Vancouver

Former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has won a neck-and-neck mayoral race to lead Vancouver, as local government saw shakeups across the region.

Supporters chanted, "Kennedy, Kennedy," and broke out in dance as results came in early Sunday morning, heralding Stewart in as the first Independent mayor of Vancouver in more than 30 years.

He scraped ahead of Non-Partisan Association candidate Ken Sim with 984 votes.

"They voted for a plan that is bold but achievable," Stewart told the crowd, adding he will begin immediately to deliver on campaign promises like increasing the housing supply and creating a Downtown Eastside task force with a focus on stemming the opioid crisis.

Sim said he would not concede early Sunday morning.

"As you know this has been a very unprecedented election. We've consulted with our advisers and our team, they mention there are still ballots to be counted. Barring that, let's speak to the results we have tonight," he said, congratulating Stewart.

Stewart's election ends Vision Vancouver's 10 year rule under outgoing mayor Gregor Robertson, who didn't seek re-election and leaves the city with a housing crisis that became the focus of the campaign.

It was one of several significant turnovers in Metro Vancouver that also saw a comeback for former mayor Doug McCallum in Surrey and former firefighter Mike Hurley defeat five-term mayoral institution Derek Corrigan in Burnaby.

The campaign in Vancouver was marked by a crowded race of new candidates and parties with converging platforms focused on increasing housing supply in the face of the city's affordability crisis.

Stewart will lead 10 other councillors divided across party lines, including five NPA councillors and five from progressive parties.

"I've been talking with them all the way through, all the way through this race and I think there are ideas we share in common and we're just going to have to go policy by policy and make sure we're not alienating anyone. I'm confident we can do it," Stewart told reporters following his victory speech.

Seven women also make up the majority.

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