City Council President Bruce Harrell will become interim mayor once Ed Murray’s resignation becomes effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday. He will then have five days to decide if he will continue to serve until the results of the Nov. 7 election are certified.

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Now that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has stepped down, effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, City Council President Bruce Harrell will serve as acting mayor for at least five days.

At the end of that period, if Harrell decides he does not want to continue serving, the nine-member council will choose another of its members to be acting mayor.

The acting mayor will hold office until the results of the election are certified, on Nov. 28. Voters are choosing between mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon.

If Harrell decides to serve as acting mayor past the initial five-day period, he won’t be able to return to his council seat, according to a council spokesman and a spokeswoman for City Attorney Pete Holmes.

Councilmember Tim Burgess, who’s retiring from his seat at the end of the year anyway, might be a leading candidate to serve as acting mayor if Harrell demurs.

No matter which member ends up serving as acting mayor, the council will then have 20 days to appoint a temporary council replacement.

“I intend to make an announcement within the five days on my intentions and will talk to my family, my colleagues on the Seattle City Council, and trusted members of our city on this decision with the understanding that the City and continuity of governance comes before all other factors,” Harrell said in a statement Tuesday.

Director of Operations Fred Podesta will lead the transition, according to a statement by Murray.

In addition, Holmes said his office would advise the mayor’s office and council “on the next legal steps forward.”

“The City must focus on governance and day-to-day business without distraction,” Harrell’s statement said. “ I have a plan in place for a seamless transition in order for City operations to continue at the highest standard. ”

In July, after earlier allegations of sexual abuse against Murray, two council members — M. Lorena González and Kshama Sawant — called on him to resign.

They were joined by the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, the Seattle Human Rights Commission and members of SNAP, a group of adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

Kshama Sawant denounces the members of the City Council who did not call for Mayor Ed Murray’s resignation. (Lauren Frohne / The Seattle Times)

González initially said the council — absent a resignation by the mayor — should form a committee “to determine if a transition in executive leadership is merited.”

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Sawant said the council should move to impeach Murray if he refused to step aside.

But other members of the council resisted the calls for action, urging caution and arguing the mayor deserved due process with regard to the decades-old claims.

Murray proposed the creation of a joint mayor-council “transition committee” to ensure a smooth handover at the end of the year.

Ultimately, Harrell and González agreed that the council would both move ahead with the joint transition committee and draft a “succession plan” to outline what would happen if Murray were to resign before the end of his term.

Harrell sent a “succession plan” memo to the rest of the council on Aug. 2. If he declines to serve as acting mayor past the initial five-day period, Harrell wants the council to choose another its members within five additional days, the memo says.

On Tuesday, Durkan joined those who urged Murray to step down, saying in a statement “it is in everyone’s best interest for him to resign.”

Moon also issued statement urging Murray to resign, saying, “How many victims will it take for the Mayor to step down?”