MONTREAL—The search to find Montreal’s new mayor could end as soon as Thursday afternoon, when CTV Montreal has learned that the governing Union Montreal party will hold a special meeting to choose a candidate to succeed Gerald Tremblay.

With firm control over city council, Union Montreal’s candidate would be expected to be appointed by a city council vote on Nov. 16.

A little known face, Jane Cowell-Poitras, has served as the acting mayor since Tremblay ended his 11 years at the helm of the city on Monday. A councillor from Lachine, Cowell-Poitras had held the largely honourary position of deputy mayor until Tremblay’s sudden departure. Council will now vote on a permanent replacement who will hold the post until next November’s municipal election.

Councillors from the ruling Union Montreal party gathered early Wednesday morning to discuss procedure and strategy. Union Montreal has a solid majority at city hall with 35 councillors under its banner. Across the aisle, 28 councillors are lined up under the Vision Montreal and Projet Montreal oppositions.

Councillors say Gerald Tremblay's former party wants to unite behind one candidate so as not to split the vote.

"We will probably be working in the next couple of days on finding the candidates who wish to run within our party, and we will discuss as a caucus which candidate will take the lead," said Cowell-Poitras.

Marvin Rotrand, who sits on the executive committee and serves as majority leader on council, said Wednesday's meeting was mostly about the mechanics of how the selection will take place.

"Everybody wanted to understand what the city clerk's legal obligations are, what the council's obligations are, and it was really basically a work session," said Rotrand.

"We want to go forward with assuring the population that services will continue to be delivered and the city is functioning as it should be."

The two frontrunners within Union Montreal are said to be Michael Applebaum and Richard Deschamps.

Applebaum is the chair of the powerful executive committee that effectively runs Montreal’s municipal government, he is also the mayor of Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace borough. His responsibilities include urban planning, financing and borough relations.

Deschamps also sits on the executive committee and his tasks focus on the economic development and infrastructure.

Both opposition parties started moving the evening of Tremblay’s resignation to try to stop what will effectively be a coronation by Union Montreal’s troops. Opposition leaders Louise Harel and Richard Bergeron had called for the striking of a new executive committee with representatives from the opposition.

The city clerk is expected meet with all parties on Monday to explain how the candidate nominations and subsequent vote will take place.