The Navajo Nation Council on Friday postponed the tribe's general election for 60 days until Jan. 6 and decided to add interim President Leonard Haskie's name to the ballot for president if suspended Chairman Peter MacDonald's name is removed.
The council also decided to leave the decision of whether to remove MacDonald's name from the ballot up to the Navajo Election Board. The board is scheduled to consider the matter Tuesday.MacDonald faces former Navajo Chairman Peterson Zah in the Navajo presidential election, which originally was scheduled for Nov. 6. Has-kie finished third in the September primary election.
The succession resolution, which included the election postponement, was approved by a vote of 71-11, with one delegate abstaining. Except for the postponement, it was the same resolution the election board voted 4-1 to oppose on Thursday.
The election board on Thursday postponed taking action on MacDonald's ballot status. Members said they wanted to allow the nation council to take action first.
Wednesday, MacDonald was convicted in tribal District Court of 41 counts of bribery, theft by extortion, ethics violations and conspiracy. Defense attorney Val Jolley said the convictions will be appealed to the Navajo Supreme Court and that MacDonald would seek a new trial.
Because of the convictions, ethics and election laws prevent MacDonald from holding an elected office for four years, tribal Attorney General Herb Yazzie told the election board Thursday.