Shawn Atleo close to win on second ballot in Assembly of First Nations election
Incumbent Shawn Atleo came within three votes of reelection as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations on a second ballot today (July 18).
The election will move to a third round of voting, after Atleo secured 318 votes out of a total of 535 ballots cast, just short of the 321, or 60 percent of votes, needed to win.
Candidate Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaq lawyer and professor at Ryerson University, received 107 votes on the second ballot, up from 95 in the first round. Terrance Nelson, who received 25 votes, withdrew following the second round of voting and threw his support behind Palmater.
Palmater has been one of Atleo’s most vocal critics during her bid for national chief, calling for the AFN to take a tougher stance against the Harper government on First Nations issues.
The second ballot results saw candidates Bill Erasmus and Diane Kelly each receive 34 votes. Ellen Gabriel, the former head of the Quebec Native Women’s Association, will not be on the third ballot after receiving 17 votes.
The election initially included a total of eight candidates, including an unprecedented four women contenders. Joan Jack and George Stanley were dropped off the ballot after the first round of voting.
A total of 535 votes were cast in the second ballot by First Nations chiefs and their proxies from across the country.
The next results are expected later this afternoon. The AFN’s general assembly in Toronto is being streamed on the organization’s website.