The Assembly of First Nations will elect a new national chief in December, it announced Tuesday.

The AFN is meeting in Halifax this week to discuss a range of issues. One of the first orders of business was deciding when to replace former chief Shawn Atleo.

Atleo quit as national chief of the assembly in May. His decision surprised many. 

Atleo resigned under criticism for his support of proposed changes to federal legislation related to aboriginal education.

The federal government has since put the policy changes on hold.

The AFN decided Tuesday that the new chief will be elected at the Winnipeg gathering at the end of the year. The chief will serve a 3.5-year term.

Dozens of chiefs spoke and there was overwhelming support for the December election.

Most chiefs agreed that a new national chief was needed before the federal election set for October 2015.

The AFN has yet to decide how the chief will be elected. 

with files from the Canadian Press