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Canada  

A first for Montreal

Valerie Plante will become Montreal's first female mayor after defeating Denis Coderre in today's municipal election.

Plante, 43, is leading with over 51 per cent of the vote compared to just under 46 per cent for the incumbent Coderre with almost all polls reporting.

She has already taken to Twitter to thank her followers for electing her.

Plante and her Projet Montreal party campaigned on a platform of improving public transit and traffic flow, as well as adding green spaces and social housing.

Plante entered politics in 2013 when she won a city council seat, and was elected to her party's leadership last fall.

She began the mayoral race as a relative unknown but opinion polls showed her steadily gaining on Coderre as the campaign continued.

Coderre, a former Liberal MP and cabinet minister, has served as mayor since 2013.

He campaigned largely on his record, which included embarking on an ambitious infrastructure renewal plan, naming an inspector general to oversee the awarding of city contracts, and negotiating increased powers for the city from the province.

While Montreal's economy has boomed during his mandate, Coderre was branded by opponents as an arrogant leader who makes hasty decisions with little consultation.

He was criticized for spending millions on showy projects to celebrate the city's 375th birthday, and drew the ire of dog lovers when he banned pit bulls last year.

Plante, a mother of two who cycles or takes public transit to work, sought throughout the campaign to present herself as less flamboyant and more in touch with Montrealers than her opponent.

Her signature campaign promise was a new 29-stop subway line that would link the city's densely populated northeast to downtown.



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