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Mayor to take on 'premier;

Sheutiapik to contest Okalik's Iqaluit seat


Iqaluit Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik confirmed this week that she'll take a run at Iqaluit West, the seat held by Paul Okalik, the premier, in the Oct. 27 territorial election.

At a city council meeting this past Tuesday, Sheutiapik said she'll take a leave of absence from the mayor's job from Sept. 20 to Oct. 28.

"I've decided to throw my hat into the territorial elections," she told councillors.

The highly popular mayor was first elected to city council in 2002, after a by-election to fill a vacant seat. In 2003, she was elected mayor, then won a second term in 2006 by acclamation.

She has also served as president of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities and as the Nunavut representative on the board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Okalik, the incumbent in Iqaluit West, said last week that he intends to seek a third term as MLA.

Meanwhile, the incumbent MLAs who hold the other two legislative assembly seats in Iqaluit told Nunatsiaq News this week that they're still pondering their options.

Ed Picco (Iqaluit East) and Hunter Tootoo (Iqaluit Centre) each said they will announce their intentions later, likely after or near the end of the current assembly session.

The legislative assembly will dissolve Sept. 21, and the 35-day election campaign will kick off Sept. 22, when people may begin to submit declarations of candidacy to Elections Nunavut.

The deadline for submitting those declarations is Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. If a candidate has second thoughts about running, they have until 5 p.m. that day to withdraw their declaration.

Sandy Kusugak, Nunavut's Chief Electoral Officer, said candidates will see two big differences this year.

The new declaration of candidacy form does not require the candidate to gather any signatures. Candidates must pay a $200 deposit, provide their full name and contact information, and provide their financial agent's full name and contact information.

Kusugak urges all candidates to choose their financial agent carefully and ensure that their financial agent understands all their obligations, including the need to submit a financial return.

The other change is that on election night, polls will open and close under staggered hours to ensure that all ballots in all three time zones are counted at the same time.

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