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AFN National Chief Election: Woodhouse and Pratt Vie for Top Spot Amid Tensions

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Sakchi Khandelwal
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AFN National Chief Election: Woodhouse and Pratt Vie for Top Spot Amid Tensions

The high-stakes election for the next national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is on the brink of conclusion, with two final contenders left in the running: Cindy Woodhouse and David Pratt. In a gruelling series of six ballots, no candidate has yet managed to secure the mandatory 60% support required for victory, with Woodhouse, the current regional chief for Manitoba, holding the lead at 50.8%.

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A Run-Off with No Clear Winner

Pratt, who serves as the first vice-chief for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan, holds 39.3% of the vote. Despite an urging from Woodhouse and her supporters for Pratt to concede after the fourth ballot, he remains resolute in his decision to stay in the race, citing the need to consult with his chiefs before making any decisions.

Rules and Regulations of the Election

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The rules of the election stipulate that a candidate must garner 60% support or the runner-up must concede to confirm a winner. The seventh and potentially decisive ballot is slated for 11 A.M. ET on Thursday.

AFN Elections Reflect Unresolved Tensions

The election has been underscored by a backdrop of political tumult within the AFN. Accusations of misogyny, corruption, bullying, and harassment have been rife, climaxing with the ousting of the former national chief, RoseAnne Archibald. The candidates have laid out divergent visions for the future of the AFN, with some pushing for transformative change and a return to community sovereignty, while others advocate for a results-oriented approach that includes cooperation with the federal government. The AFN, which represents over 630 chiefs nationwide, restricts its voting eligibility to chiefs or their proxies.

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