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Navajo Nation leader starts second term despite election loss

Ben Shelly takes the oath of office as president of the Navajo Nation. Photo by Rick Abasta / Navajo Nation Office of the President

Ben Shelly was sworn in for a second term as president of the Navajo Nation on Tuesday even though he lost his re-election bid.

Shelly came in seventh out of 17 in last year's primary. He was prepared to leave office until a dispute over the eligibility of one of the top candidates delayed the general election.

With no resolution in sight, Shelly reached an agreement with leaders of the Navajo Nation Council to stay in office until voters choose a successor. “We’ll keep it together until somebody shows up,” the president said after he was sworn in at a private ceremony in Window Rock, Arizona, the tribe's capital.

The primary will take place June 2. All of the candidates in last year's election are eligible to run without paying another filing fee but Shelly indicated in a press release that he will be retiring from tribal politics.

The top two candidates will advance to the August 4 general election.

Get the Story:
Navajo Nation welcomes new leaders for tribal council and other elected offices (The Farmington Daily Times 1/14)
Navajo Nation president sworn in despite losing re-election (Al Jazeera 1/13)
New motion asks for Navajo Nation officials to be held in contempt of court (The Farmington Daily Times 1/13)
Navajo president to stay on until election sorted out (AP 1/10)

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