11/29/2013 01:32 EST | Updated 01/29/2014 05:59 EST

Réal Ménard says he may have to resign as borough mayor

An emotional Réal Ménard, the borough mayor of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, was in tears this morning as he explained he may be forced to resign if his party can’t cover $500,000 in campaign costs.

Ménard, who was elected borough mayor as part of Marcel Côté’s Coalition Montréal in the Nov. 3 election, said the party’s leader didn’t earn enough votes to get campaign costs reimbursed, and now the party can’t afford to pay back candidates.

Ménard also sits on the city's executive committee, where he is responsible for sustainable development, environment and parks.

In a letter published today in La Presse, Côté explained that his party wasn’t entitled to a refund for campaign expenses from the Quebec government because he didn’t receive at least 15 per cent of the vote.

Normally a mayoral candidate who doesn’t get at least 15 per cent of the vote gets removed from city council, Côté said, and he got 12.8 per cent of the vote. His interpretation of the electoral law is that fate befalls Ménard, who won the most votes in the party.

Côté went on in his letter to say this would prevent the party from submitting its expense reports.

Ménard's wrong, says chief electoral officer

However, Denis Dion, the spokesman for Quebec’s Chief Electoral Officer, said that’s not entirely true.

Dion said the party can go ahead and file its report, but that it will face a fine of between $500 and $2,000. However, he said, the law does not require Ménard to step down as borough mayor.

At a news conference held Friday morning, Ménard pleaded for an amendment to the election law to reflect how the entire party performs and not just how well the mayoral candidate for the party does.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he supports Ménard. He said he spoke to members of the national assembly, including Premier Pauline Marois, who told him her government also supports the idea of a change in the law.