Montreal's  opposition leader Louise Harel announced Thursday that her Vision Montreal will not present a candidate for interim mayor in Friday's vote, increasing the chances of victory for Michael Applebaum over his former colleague, Union Montreal councillor Richard Deschamps.

Had Harel opted to run a candidate, Applebaum's chances of winning would have been considerably diminished, as  Applebaum, Gerald Tremblay's former second-in-command, has worked to form an alliance with opposition parties against the candidate favoured by Union Montreal.

Union Montreal has now been reduced to 26 seats, while Vision has 16, Projet Montreal has 10, while 12 sit as independents.

Only Deschamps and Applebaum registered as candidates for the secret vote, which will take place Friday morning at around 10:00 a.m.

Earlier Thursday, three more city councillors jumped ship from the once-mighty Union Montreal.

Among them is Marvin Rotrand, the longest-serving councillor in the city of Montreal

Rotrand was the house majority leader for Union Montreal, is still the vice-chair of the STM and also works closely with interim mayoral candidate and Cote des Neiges/NDG borough mayor Michael Applebaum.

It should not come as a surprise that Rotrand is throwing his support behind Applebaum's bid to become mayor.

"I've made this decision after evaluating what, according to me, is best for the municipal council," wrote Rotrand.

In a written statement Rotrand said he bears no ill-will toward his former colleagues in Union Montreal, but that leaving the party was necessary because of the split created by Applebaum and Richard Deschamps.

"Michael Applebaum is ready to work with me to make Executive Committee meetings public, to transfer certain powers from the Executive Committee to the general council, and to study a series of democratic reforms," wrote Rotrand.

Other councillors abandoning Union Montreal on Thursday include Ginette Marotte of Verdun and Christian Dubois of Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

Mayoral vote Friday

On Wednesday six councillors officially left the party of former mayor Gerald Tremblay, leaving Union with a plurality, but no longer a majority, on city council.

The next step is the secret ballot vote to choose an interim mayor for the city.

So far Applebaum and Deschamps have submitted their candidacies to the city clerk.

On Friday morning at 10 a.m. there will be a public council meeting with a question and answer session. That meeting will be live-streamed over the internet.

Each candidate will then have 20 minutes to address councillors and campaign for their votes, but will not have to face any questioning at that time.

The 62 sitting councillors will then cast votes, with the speaker, who is a member of Union Montreal, only voting if there is a tie.