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Navajo Nation Council fails to override veto on language bill

A view of the Navajo Nation Council chambers in Window Rock, Arizona. Photo from Facebook

The Navajo Nation Council on Thursday failed to override a veto on a bill that would have eased language requirements for presidential candidates.

The council came up three votes short in its effort to enact Bill 0298-14 into law. President Ben Shelly vetoed the measure last month, effectively ending the campaign of former presidential candidate Chris Deschene, who is not as fluent in the Navajo language as he'd like to be.

Navajo Nation presidential candidate Russell Begaye and his running mate, Jonathan Nez. Photo from Facebook

Meanwhile, the candidate who replaced Deschene on the ballot confronted a challenge to his candidacy. The Office of Hearings and Appeals heard arguments yesterday on a petition that questions the "unswerving loyalty" of Russell Begaye due to his connection to lawsuit that challenged the tribe's jurisdiction.

We think this is a smear campaign that’s hoping that maybe something will stick,” Begaye's attorney told the court, the Associated Press reported. A rival candidate filed the petition.

Joe Shirley Jr., right, and his running mate, Dineh Benally. Photo from Twitter

Begaye is due to face Joe Shirley Jr., a former president, in a special election on December 23. The vote was supposed to take place November 4 but legal issues involving Deschene forced a delay.

The winner of the election will serve a four-year term.

Get the Story:
Veto override fails in Navajo language-requirement dispute (12 News 11/14)
Navajo Nation Council fails to override language veto (The Farmington Daily Times 11/14)
Challenges continue in Navajo president’s race (AP 11/14)

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