09/21/2015 16:39 EDT | Updated 09/21/2016 01:12 EDT

Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay to step down in 2017

Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay, who went to the Supreme Court to have the right to say a prayer at the beginning of municipal council meetings, has announced he won't run again at the end of his mandate in 2017.

Tremblay said today in a Facebook post he made the decision after a long period of reflection. He said he believes he has "transformed" the city during his time in power. 

By 2017, Tremblay will have been the head of the city for two decades.

"The next two years are the most important for me," he said. 

"I want to leave the impression of a mayor who succeeded at all levels, of a mayor who proved that he worked for his constituents."

The Supreme Court ruled last April that the reading of a Catholic prayer at council meetings infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.

The ruling ended an eight-year legal battle that pitted atheist Alain Simoneau and a secular-rights organization against Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay.

Tremblay, 66, said at the time he would comply with the judgment even though he didn't agree with it.

He was elected mayor of Chicoutimi in 1997 and four years later became mayor of the merged community of Saguenay, about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City.