A wave of change swept over Nunavut's political landscape on Monday, with first-time MLAs entering office and unseating three cabinet ministers in the process.
Premier Paul Okalik and Finance Minister Louis Tapardjuk are the only cabinet ministers who kept their seats in the legislature, as 10 of the 15 seats up for grabs Monday went to newcomers.
Rankin Inlet Mayor Lorne Kusugak defeated community and government services minister Levinia Brown in the Rankin Inlet South-Whale Cove constituency, garnering 62 per cent of the popular vote over Brown's 38 per cent, according to unofficial results from Elections Nunavut.
"Tim Horton's has their Roll up to Win contest, and I rolled up my sleeves and got to work," Kusugak told CBC News in Rankin Inlet, shortly after he learned of his win Monday night.
"They're looking for change, and hopefully that's why I got in."
In another upset, former economic development and transportation minister Patterk Netser was unseated by former Coral Harbour mayor Johnny Ningeongan in the Nanulik constituency, which includes the communities of Coral Harbour and Chesterfield Inlet.
With all four polls reporting, Ningeongan earned 47 per cent of the vote over Netser's 40 per cent.
"I think it's [about] having an MLA actually listening in the community," Ningeongan told CBC News on Monday night.
"I think that, more than anything, has to do with me getting elected."
Elliott replaces Barnabas as High Arctic MLA
Levi Barnabas, who was named human resources minister earlier this year, was edged out by Nunavut Arctic College educator Ron Elliott in the High Arctic constituency of Quttiktuq, which includes the communities of Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay.
With all six polls reporting, Elliott received 183 votes over 174 votes for Barnabas. The popular vote share was 51 per cent for Elliott and 49 per cent for Barnabas.
Elliott, 38, who moved to Nunavut in 1991, told CBC News that he will focus on youth issues. Youth seem to be least represented in politics, despite being the territory's largest population group, he said.
Another upset came in the Baker Lake constituency in central Nunavut, as former finance minister David Simailak was narrowly defeated by 37-year-old security guard Moses Aupaluktuq.
Aupaluktuq, who won 266 votes over Simailak's 236 votes, said he ran because he felt the community of Baker Lake had been embarrassed by the incumbent's conduct as a cabinet minister.
Earlier this year, Simailak was reprimanded twice by Nunavut's integrity commissioner for violating the territory's Integrity Act. He resigned as finance minister in December 2007.
Okalik, Tapardjuk re-elected
Of the five incumbent cabinet ministers running for re-election, three lost their seats in the legislature. Only Okalik and Tapardjuk were re-elected.
Okalik edged out Iqaluit Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik in the Iqaluit West constituency, while Tapardjuk won 65 per cent of the vote over Joanna Haulli Quassa in Amittuq.
A total of 40 candidates are vying for seats in 15 constituencies, stretching from Baffin Island to the east to the N.W.T. border in the west, and far north into the High Arctic and south to Hudson Bay.
It's the third time Nunavummiut have gone to the polls to elect their own government. Nunavut was created on April 1, 1999, carving Canada's youngest territory out of the Northwest Territories.
Unlike the southern provinces and the Yukon, both Nunavut and the N.W.T. have consensus-style governments that have no political parties, meaning each candidate for office essentially runs as an independent.
The newly elected MLAs will then choose a premier, speaker and cabinet from among their own ranks, in a leadership forum that takes place two to three weeks after the election.
The 35 days leading up to Monday's election in Nunavut had been a bumpy ride, with issues ranging from fewer candidates and a constituency with no candidates at all, to two candidates being deemed ineligible to run.
Although there were 19 constituencies up for grabs, voters chose 15 MLAs in Monday's election.
2 acclamations, 2 byelections
Two MLAs, Keith Peterson in Cambridge Bay and Tagak Curley in Rankin Inlet North, were re-elected by acclamation.
Voters in South Baffin will elect their MLA in a byelection scheduled for Nov. 3, after no one had wanted to run in the general election. Four people from Kimmirut and Cape Dorset have since come forward to run in the byelection.
In the Akulliq constituency, the election is on hold while the Nunavut Court of Justice considers a challenge by Jack Anawak, who was declared ineligible to run because he had not met the 12-month residency requirement.
The Nunavut Elections Act requires a candidate to live in the territory for the 12 consecutive months preceding an election day.
Anawak has taken Elections Nunavut to court on the matter, arguing that he is a longtime Nunavut resident and the requirement violates his charter rights.
As well, Okalik Eegeesiak was removed from the ballot in Iqaluit Centre on Friday, after an RCMP investigation found that she had not lived in Nunavut for the past 12 consecutive months.
A total of 40 candidates, excluding Curley and Peterson, the South Baffin byelection contenders and the Akulliq candidates, are running on Monday — a record low for Nunavut, compared to 82 candidates in the 2004 election and 71 candidates in 1999.