Montrealers may be able to guess who will take the spot as the city's interim mayor as the party elects a new official to represent them in the upcoming secret vote to choose Gérald Tremblay's replacement.

Union Montréal councillors held a secret ballot vote Thursday night to decide who they will pick as their representative to run for mayor's seat.

Richard Deschamps came out as the winner of the popular vote ahead of Côte-des-Neiges councillor Helen Fotopoulos and the former mayor's own right-hand man, Michael Applebaum.

"I would like to thank everyone here, which has been involved in this democratic process," said Deschamps. 

Deschamps was elected as councillor for LaSalle in 1999. Since then, he was named vice-chair of the city's executive committee.

Fotopulos, member of city's executive committee responsible for culture, was emerging as one of the possible candidates to become Montreal's interim mayor Thursday morning.

The former mayor of Plateau Mont-Royal, Fotopulos said she was flattered people were considering her for the role of mayor.

"Richard is our leader now," she said after the secret vote. "Richard is someone with a lot of experience, a lot of conviction and commitment to the city. He's also one who's always worked well with outreach and with his colleagues so I'm sure he'll be able to live up to the challenge that this year has in store for all elected officials of Quebec."

The interim mayor is slotted to be elected on Nov. 16 following the city council's secret ballot vote.

It's expected Deschamps will win the vote since his party, Union Montréal, holds the majority of seats at city hall.

If only one person introduces their name for the candidacy, they will be acclaimed mayor.

If more than one person enters their name for the role, each candidate will have 20 minutes to answer questions from the public.

Potential candidates called out for lacking French skills

Some potential candidates for interim mayor were criticized over their ability to speak French.

Montreal radio host for 98.5 FM Benoit Dutrizac criticized Applebaum on Twitter for his lack of French-speaking abilities.

"Do we have the right to wish for an interim mayor who can speak proper French?"  he tweeted.

City councillor Marvin Rotrand defended Applebaum, calling the attacks "repugnant."

"His French is good enough to control the $5 billion budget and work with all the top civil servants in the city," Rotrand said.

Candidacies will be introduced between Nov. 13 and 15. The list of candidates will be made public after 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 15.