In what is considered a surprise win, Liberals in the Saint-Laurent riding voted for 26-year-old high school teacher Emmanuella Lambropoulos to represent them in the April 3 byelection.
Lambropoulos, a teacher at Rosemount High School, volunteered for the previous MP in the riding, Stephane Dion.
“I'm shocked. I'm surprised that I won because like the media had no idea that I was running and a lot of people came here not knowing who I was,” she said.
Now a riding that’s been traditionally been one of the safest Liberal seats in Canada has been handed over to a political rookie.
“I'm a good person and I think I have a lot to offer in the sense that I'm a good listener, I'm empathetic and I want what's best for people. I want to help,” said Lambropoulos, who ran the campaign out of her grandmother’s living room.
“I didn't give up. Door-to-door. As soon as I found out that I wanted this and I started working really hard.”
A total of 1350 ballots were cast in the vote Thursday night.
Lambropoulos beat out the star candidate former Quebec immigration minister Yolande James and tax law professor Marwah Rizqy.
James finished in third place.
The vote was initially fraught with speculation, however, with claims that a computer glitch booted some voters from the system.
Rizqy's team claims that a few days ago, the Liberals changed their software and 600 names that were registered to vote for her were lost. They said the party tried to retrieve them before the vote Tuesday night, but some voters told CTV Montreal didn't make it back on.
CTV Montreal spoke to a few voters who were turned away and said they registered and sent in their forms but their names were nowhere to be found in the computer when they arrived to vote.
Liberal Party VP Sebastien Fassier denies the claims, saying there's no computer glitch or any software change.
A few people were turned away, he said, but added it was likely because they didn't meet the registration deadline or thought this was a municipal election open to the public and not just Liberal cardholders.
Fassier said there's a strict double checking process where the party sends back the list to each candidate and if there are any issues with the list, they have time to correct it before the deadline.
On Thursday, Rizqy said she would not challenge the vote.
Members voted in a preferential ballot, ranking the candidates in order of preference.
Saint-Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa set out for the Liberal nomination, but his candidacy was rejected by the party. His subsequent request to appeal was also rejected. The party has not given any reason why his application or appeal request was rejected.
DeSousa said voters were looking to teach the Liberal party a lesson by electing a newcomer.
“They felt comfortable saying, ‘Look this is one way to send an important message to the Liberal Party that we're not going to be taken for granted, we're not going to be taken for stupid,’” he said.
The Conservative Party announced its candidate Jimmy Yu on Tuesday night.
The winner of the Saint-Laurent byelection will replace Dion, who accepted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's offer to be Canada's ambassador to the European Union and Germany after being shuffled out of a cabinet position early this year.
With files from The Canadian Press