Veteran politician Robert Libman has prevailed over journalist Pascale Dery, who mounted a challenge in his bid to represent the federal Conservatives in Mount Royal, a longtime Liberal stronghold.

A total of 1,668 Conservative party members voted in the hotly-contested battle and the result was announced just before 7 p.m. Sunday.

The Conservative party refused to officially release the final tally, but several sources have said that roughly 60 percent of the ballots cast were for Libman.

A victorious Libman brushed off reports that the Conservative brass were hoping that his opponent Dery would win the nomination.

“The party said from day one that this is a democratic process. The people spoke. The party did not interfere or take sides. Both candidates worked hard to sell memberships and bring our voters out tonight,” he said.

Libman was flanked by federal Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel. "He will be a very good candidate for us," said Lebel of Libman.“We will win this riding in the next election."

Libman, 54, started in politics as leader of the upstart English-rights Equality Party, which won four seats in the 1989 Quebec election. He has also served as Mayor of Cote St. Luc and served on Montreal's Executive Committee under Gerald Tremblay.

Dery denied that she had significant help from party insiders. “I really had to run twice as hard. Mr. Libman was there before me. I ran 86 days and I’m really proud of the campaign that I ran for six months,” said Pascale Dery, who said that she plans to help out the party in the upcoming election.

The federal Conservatives have not won the riding since 1935.

Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who has represented Mount Royal since 1999, has decided not to seek another term.  Anthony Housefather, who was mayor of Côte Saint-Luc for the past nine years, will run for the Liberals.

Cotler won the election in 2011 by 2,300 votes against Conservative candidate Saulie Zajdel.