Melanie Joly, the dark-horse municipal candidate who finished second behind Denis Coderre in the 2013 Montreal mayoral race, will seek the nomination for the Liberal Party of Canada in the federal riding of Ahuntsic-Cartierville.

In a statement released Tuesday, Joly said she wants to run for the Liberals make Montreal a federal priority and to fight against climate change and social inequality.

Joly is close to the family of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and has been a rumoured Liberal candidate for years.

She won 123,000 votes as a candidate for mayor of Montreal, enough to put her ahead of the expected second-place finisher, former Projet Montreal leader Richard Bergeron.

During that campaign, CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty asked Joly if she would consider running as a star candidate for the Liberals in the event she did not win the mayoral race.

"It’s a no. I’m saying that I’m here to stay in Montreal. My heart is here. Before being a Canadian or Quebecer, I’m a Montrealer," she said. 

A spokesperson said she would not give interviews Tuesday but may speak to the media on Wednesday.

Joly will first have to win the Liberal nomination.

Other candidates seeking nomination

There are already at least five candidates seeking the nomination.

Last week, they signed a joint letter saying they would not drop out of the race in the event a high profile candidate entered the fray.

"Through this joint statement, we confirm that we will each remain a candidate in this nomination contest, and that we will not withdraw," the statement read. 

"Should the case arise, we welcome any new candidates that wish to join us, but we are each fully and completely committed to the democratic process and to the thousands of Liberal members from Ahuntsic-Cartierville."

One of those candidates, Viken Attarian, said his campaign will not change now that Joly is in the race. 

"I welcome her on board," he said. "We are staying and we are continuing the nomination race and may the best person win." 

If Joly wins the nomination, she'll have to wrestle the riding away from incumbent MP Maria Mourani.

Mourani now sits as in independent after leaving the Bloc Québécois over its support of the Parti Québécois' proposed charter of values during the 2014 provincial election. 

Mourani has announced she'll run for the NDP in the next federal election. 

A lawyer by training, Joly worked in business and as a speaker before her mayoral run. Last year she wrote her first book, Changer les regles de jeu.