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Coalition Avenir Quebec elected candidate Joelle Boutin gets her hands raised by Quebec Premier Francois Legault, left, and Quebec Deputy premier and Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault after she won the byelection in the Jean-Talon riding, Monday, December 2, 2019 in Quebec City.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The Coalition Avenir Quebec easily won the Quebec City by-election in Jean-Talon Monday night, taking a riding whose electorate had steadily voted Liberal since 1966.

Former political staffer Joelle Boutin, 40, won for the governing CAQ, beating out the Liberals’ Gertrude Bourdon, an ex-hospital administrator who had tried and failed in the 2018 general election to win a neighbouring riding for the same party.

Monday’s results indicate Francois Legault’s CAQ remains a dominant political force in the province, following the party’s 2018 crushing victory after almost 15 years of Liberal rule.

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The results also reinforce the Liberals’ decline among francophone voters outside Montreal.

With 111 of 158 polling stations reporting as of 9:30 p.m. Monday night, Boutin had a comfortable 41 per cent of the vote, with the Liberals a distant second at 23 per cent.

The left-wing Quebec solidaire party came in third with 21 per cent, not far off from their 2018 total of 19 per cent.

Liberal Sebastien Proulx’s resignation earlier this year triggered the by-election.

In 2018, Proulx, once touted as a possible leadership candidate for his party, won by four percentage points over Boutin and had been the Liberal’s only member east of Montreal.

Boutin’s win for the CAQ relegates the Liberals to ridings in Montreal and in the Outaouais. The CAQ now has 76 out of Quebec’s 125 electoral seats; the Liberals hold 28.

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