Navajo President Ben Shelly Keeps Post until September 9, 2015
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA— On Saturday, January 10, 2015, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly signed the special run off election legislation passed on the last day of the year by the Navajo Nation Council into law, as well as a bill that grants a pardon to the members of the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors who were stripped of their offices by order of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court.
“It is in the best interest of the Navajo people that we give the thousands of voters a new opportunity to choose their next leaders,” President Shelly said. “There have been too many discrepancies over the last several months. A new election will restore some hope among the voters and the people that their voice will be heard.”
Believing that individual rights are undeniable, President Shelly signed legislation CD-81-14 and pardoned the Board of Election Supervisors members from sanctions imposed upon them by the Supreme Court.
The legislation sets forth a special election for June 2015, in which the 17 candidates who were contenders for the 2014 primary election are eligible to reapply as candidates for president.The two candidates with the highest votes will proceed to a special general election in August 2015.
The legislation calls for the oath of office to be administered to the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect on September 9, 2015.
In other election related news, the Supreme Court vacated a motion filed by the Navajo Department of Justice seeking clarification from the court on the election before Jan. 31, 2015, and additionally, an opinion on whether President Shelly remains as president beyond Jan. 13, 2015.
During the late hours of January 9, President Shelly met with the Speaker Pro Tem LoRenzo Bates and members of the Navajo Nation Council, along with attorneys from the DOJ and the chief legislative counsel to fashion an agreement for the president to remain as president beyond January13. The agreement will require President Shelly to take an oath of office on Tuesday.
It was agreed by the parties that stability is important to the functioning government and to ensure a greater sense of continuity. The agreement does lend opportunity for the incoming lawmakers to introduce legislation that would otherwise address the matter of the presidency until an election is held.