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Quebec hopes to move forward from era of scandal with municipal elections

Montreal mayoral candidate Denis Coderre smiles as he leaves a seniors residence while on the campaign trail in Montreal, Friday, October 18, 2013. Coderre is believed to be the frontrunner in Montreal’s municipal election, held Nov. 3, 2013.


Quebec voters are hoping to turn the page on an era of scandal-ridden leadership as they cast their ballots in municipal elections across the province.

Today's elections come as the province's Charbonneau Commission continues to hear testimony detailing a system of kickbacks and illegal party financing at the municipal level.

The longtime mayors of Montreal and the suburb of Laval were forced to step down a year ago amid corruption allegations.

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Months later, their interim replacements resigned in scandal as well.

The election campaign in Montreal centred around issues of ethics and transparency but no clear leader emerged on those issues.

The perceived frontrunner to become Montreal's next mayor is former Liberal MP Denis Coderre, but he could face a challenge from upstart candidate Melanie Joly, a public relations professional.

Richard Bergeron, whose left-wing party has a strong presence in the city's trendy Plateau neighbourhood, and economist Marcel Cote, are also in the running.

Meanwhile, in Quebec City, five candidates are challenging the city's firebrand mayor, Regis Labeaume.

In total, there are elections in 1,100 cities and towns across the province.

Quebec's minister of municipal affairs, Sylvain Gaudreault, issued a statement urging more Quebeckers to head to the polls this time around.

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During the last municipal election, in 2009, voter turnout across the province was around 45 per cent. In Montreal, it was 39 per cent.

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