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President Shelly Signs Referendum Bill

March 17
10:21 2015

By Aaron Kellar

Navajo Nation Seal SMALLAfter countless months of controversy amid the Navajo Nation presidential election, President Ben Shelly has put his signature on the referendum bill that will add $318,000 to the election budget.

The bill will also put the issue of whether or not a candidate is required to be able to speak Navajo fluently to be on the presidential ballot, to rest, by putting the concept to a referendum vote.

This is encouraging news for supporters of former, and possibly future, (depending on the decision) presidential candidate Chris Deschene, as he was taken off the ballot when numerous claims were brought against him.

In order to be qualified for presidential candidacy, current law states that the candidate must be able to speak the Navajo language in a fluent manner.

One of the claims was that he couldn’t speak the Navajo language fluently, and he refused to take a fluency test, thus disqualifying him.

It was never proven whether he could or not.

Nevertheless, his chance in the election was stolen from him, as he was removed from the ballot.

This had caused a significant amount of controversy in the Navajo Nation, where he had the backing of a vast majority of supporters.

The next few days will have the Navajo Nation on edge, as they await the final verdict, which will ultimately determine Deschene’s, as well as other future candidates’ qualifications for the position.

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