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Despite doubts Applebaum reiterates he won’t run for mayor of Montreal

MONTREAL – Mayor Michael Applebaum reiterated two promises he made when he became mayor last year: he would remain an independent, and he would not run for city mayor in this year’s election.

“I will not be running in 2013,” he said, adding that being mayor of his home borough was sufficient. “I’ve always said that my intention was to go back and present myself as mayor of Côte-des-Neiges-NDG.”

Applebaum addressed these questions as Jocelyn Ann Campbell, a city councillor from Saint-Sulpice, raised questions about Applebaum’s intentions, which at times have appeared amorphous during the time he’s spent as the city’s mayor.

“Is he running, is he running alone? Or is he planning on running in a coalition?” she said. “We’re hearing more and more, members of city council, talking about a coalition.”

The shifting tides of Montreal politics are difficult to determine at the moment, with a clear front-runner in the upcoming mayoral election in doubt. When he announced his candidacy last month, former Liberal MP Denis Coderre was greeted by a protest. And the two remaining municipal parties — Projet Montreal and Vision Montreal — each have mayoral candidates but currently no more than 15 seats in City Hall. Counting three vacant seats, there are 75 council seats not assigned to a party.

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Longtime City Councillor Marvin Rotrand said that could mean the foreseeable future could belong to coalitions, not traditional political parties.

“Montrealers would be very happy electing an independent city councillor who signs on for five basic themes, and on everything else, they’ll represent their neighbourhood,” he said. In January Rotrand, who’s seated as an independent, announced the creation of a new political party. Since then he’s taken to calling it an “alliance.”

Rumours have been swirling around City Hall over the possibility of a fourth candidate for mayor. Applebaum has repeated he will not run, and murky potential coalitions could firm up at a council meeting on June 21.

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