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Towtongie gets top spot

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 12/01) - Rankin Inlet's Kathy Towtongie is the new president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI).

Towtongie edged out veteran Nunavut politician John Amagoalik in a dramatic finish. Close finish for new NTI president

Amagoalik was in the lead for most of the Dec. 10 election, but was only 19 votes ahead with just Arviat results to come.

When the Kivalliq hamlet reported its results early Tuesday morning, Towtongie swept to victory by capturing 267 votes in Arviat to Amagoalik's 74.

Towtongie received a total of 1,700 votes, Amagoalik, 1,526; Jerry Ell, 1,386; Methuselah Kunuk, 1,000; Rachel Qitsualik, 409; and Andrew Tagak 314.

Kivalliq Inuit Association president Paul Kaludjak swept into the office of vice-president of finance by capturing 64 per cent of votes. Kaludjak finished with 3,986 votes, Goo Arlooktoo, 1,633; and Raymond Kaslak, 679.

Voter turnout for the NTI elections was low, with only 45 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots.

The Kivalliq had the best regional voter turnout of 52 per cent. The Kitikmeot had 44 per cent, and the Baffin had 41 per cent.

Towtongie captured 41 per cent of the vote in the Kivalliq, 28 per cent in the Kitikmeot and 17 per cent in the Baffin.

The new president-elect wanted to thank many people for her election win, including her husband, Harry, who joined her on the campaign trail for the first time.

She said she has tremendous respect for Amagoalik and all he's accomplished for Nunavut throughout the years, but her win in this election shows the people of Nunavut were ready for a change.

"I spoke about the code of conduct expected from our leaders in every community I campaigned in. Nunavut needs its leaders to be setting a good example, not getting themselves in trouble every time you turn around.

"It's been eight long years for me trying to win this position and so many people kept believing in me year after year. I owe them all so much. I couldn't have done it without them."