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Nunavut Tunngavik postpones presidential election until February due to Covid; QIA pressing ahead

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated’s election for president has been delayed until Feb. 8 due to the effects of Covid-19 in some Kivalliq communities.

“The lockdown had made it difficult for the chief returning officer to prepare for the election including securing polling stations and hiring the necessary election staff,” NTI stated. “With the health risks and the generally worrisome situation that having Covid-19 now within Nunavut, the NTI board of directors did not believe this would be the best time to ask Inuit in those communities to go out and vote in an election.”

An election for Nunavut Tunngavik’s next president won’t go ahead until Feb. 8 due to Covid-19 in the Kivalliq. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association, overseeing a region without any cases of the virus, will go ahead with its elections on Dec. 14.
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The campaign period was suspended with the postponement announcement on Friday. Campaigning will resume on Jan. 4. Incumbent Aluki Kotierk is facing challenger Andrew Nakashuk in a two-way showdown for NTI’s top job.

The election was originally scheduled for Dec. 14 with an advance poll on Dec. 7.

Vice-president James Eetoolook is the organization’s acting president in the interim.

The chief returning officer will provide the new advance voting date and other key details in the weeks ahead, according to NTI.

The organization also noted that its board of directors is empowered to reopen nominations, if necessary, although there are no plans to do so at this time.

Meanwhile, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association confirmed last week that it intends to proceed with its Dec. 14 elections for vice-president, secretary/treasurer and five community directors. There are no active cases of Covid-19 in the Qikiqtani region.

“At every voting site, we will have the necessary equipment such as masks, shields and hand sanitizer to ensure that staff are protected, and Inuit can vote safely,” said chief returning officer Paul Okalik.

Running for vice-president are Olayuk Akesuk, Jerry Natanine, Jaco Newkingak and Cornelius K. Nutarak.

Levi Barnabas, Enoki Irqittuq and Johnny Mike are seeking the secretary/treasurer role.

Andrew Taqtu and Jeremy Tunraluk are the candidates for community director in Arctic Bay.

Larry Audlaluk and Liza Ningiuk are going head to head to become community director in Grise Fiord.

Mathew Saveakjuk Jaw and Adamie Nuna are vying for the community director seat in Kinngait.

Peter Evvik, Looee Mike and Charlie Qumuatuq are the contenders in Pangnirtung.

Harry Alookie, Jonah M. Audlakiak and Stevie Aulaqiaq are in the Qikiqtarjuaq race.

Paul Amagoalik was acclaimed in Resolute Bay.

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