Québec, February 15, 2005 – With the approach of the November 6, 2005 municipal elections, Mr. Marcel Blanchet, Chief Electoral Officer, wishes to remind electors as well as those persons who would like to run for office (PDF: DGE's advertisement) of the great importance of municipal democracy. Against the backdrop of relatively low turnout rates and the high number of municipal council members elected by acclamation, the Chief Electoral Officer would like to remind all concerned that getting involved in the affairs of your municipality is a way to participate in the decisions that shape the community. And one of the high points in municipal life is, of course, the election of the municipal council.
“For the first time in our history, municipal elections will be held in the same year throughout Québec, which is noteworthy in itself. We must hope that the number of candidates running in these elections will be greater, so that a maximum number of electors will be able to exercise their right to vote.” At the last municipal elections, held in November 2003, 71% of the councillors and 58% of the mayors were elected by acclamation. In the November 2001 elections, the proportion of mayors elected without any challengers stood at 65%. A greater number of candidates would contribute to the emergence of stakes on which electors could voice their opinions. “The time has come to decide to run for election, emphasized Mr. Blanchet, and this is also a good time to identify individuals from the community who could turn to good account their experience and their ability to manage the affairs of the municipality, on behalf of their fellow citizens.”
The Chief Electoral Officer hopes that a greater number of candidates will come from groups that are under-represented on municipal councils. Democracy is everyone's business, pointed out Mr. Blanchet and to ensure fairer representation, more women should run for office. The presence of more young people at the municipal level is also something to hope for. The door is also open to members of Québec's ethnic and cultural communities. “A plurality of view points and interests can only enhance the quality of the democratic debate,” stated the Chief Electoral Officer.
Mr. Blanchet believes that an increase in the number of candidates will make the elections more interesting in several municipalities, which is sure to have an impact on elector turnout.