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Coin toss decides acting leader of Navajo Nation Council

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

A coin toss has decided the temporary leader of the Navajo Nation Council.

Tribal lawmakers met in a special session Tuesday shortly after they were inaugurated to decide who will be the speaker pro tem.

The vote ended in a tie between Kee Allen Begay and LoRenzo Bates. Lawmakers looked to one of their attorneys for advice, and he recommended a coin toss.

Begay will serve as head of the legislative branch until the council selects a permanent speaker at its winter session that starts Jan. 26.

Bates had been filling in as speaker since April when former Speaker Johnny Naize was placed on administrative leave months after he was charged in a criminal case. 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