Petitions to recall Navajo leaders ruled invalid

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Window Rock, Arizona (AP) July 2012

Election officials on the Navajo Nation have nullified a petition to recall two of the top tribal leaders.

A group of eight Navajos filed petitions last week to oust tribal President Ben Shelly and Vice President Rex Lee Jim.

Johnny Thompson of the Navajo Election Administration said that a review of the petition found that fewer than the required five committee members met qualifications for gathering signatures.

The group had argued that Shelly’s administration wrongfully backed a settlement to water in the Little Colorado River basin. It can resubmit a petition.

More than 38,000 signatures needed to move it forward, a daunting task that must be completed within six months among some 110,000 registered voters.

Shelly has said he sees the recall effort as a personal vendetta.