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Candidates enter the fray
32 contenders vie for seats in 22 constituencies

Myles Dolphin
Northern News Services
Published Monday, September 30, 2013

Seventy-three Nunavummiut have filed declarations of candidacy for the upcoming territorial election, to be held on Oct. 28.

The majority of candidates come from Iqaluit, where there are four constituencies.

From the 19 Iqalummiut in the race, the only incumbents are Monica Ell and Eva Aariak. Former Speaker Hunter Tootoo, who had initially announced his intentions of running, is notably absent from the final list.

Who will represent two of Nunavut's 22 constituencies has already been decided, as Kugluktuk candidate Peter Taptuna and Netsilik candidate Jeannie Ugyuk, both incumbents, were acclaimed. That leaves 71 candidates facing off for the 20 remaining seats.

Paul Okalik, former Nunavut premier and current MLA for Iqaluit West, is running in Iqaluit-Sinaa. He will face three contenders: Leesee Papatsie - well-known for creating the Feeding my Family Facebook group - Solomon Awa and Natsiq Kango.

The race for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu will feature six candidates: Jack Anawak, Methusalah Kunuk, Sytukie Joamie, Pat Angnakak, Anne Crawford and Duncan Cunningham.

In Pangnirtung, incumbent Hezakiah Oshutapik will be running against the hamlet's current mayor, Sakiasie Sowdlooapik, as well as Harry J. Dialla and Johnny Mike.

Other incumbents looking for re-election include Joe Enook (Tununiq), Fred Schell (South Baffin), Johnny Ningeongan (Aivilik), Keith Peterson (Cambridge Bay), Allan Rumbolt (Hudson Bay), and Ron Elliott (Quttiktuq).

In the 2008 territorial election, two constituencies - Cambridge Bay and Rankin Inlet North - did not hold elections because incumbent MLAs Keith Peterson and Tagak Curley faced no opposition.

Ten seats went to first-time MLAs and approximately 8,000 Nunavummiut took part in the election, for a voter turnout of 71 per cent, according to Elections Nunavut.

That marked a 10 per cent decrease from the previous general election.

This year, the number of constituencies has been increased to 22 from the previous 19.

According to the Elections Nunavut website, "you can be a candidate in any Nunavut constituency, not just the one you live in, if you are eligible to vote and not disqualified."

Returning officers were accepting declarations until 2 p.m. on Sept. 27.

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