IQALUIT, Nunavut - Eva Aariak, Nunavut's former languages commissioner, is now its premier.

The first-time member of the legislature beat out two other contenders Friday to become the first woman to lead the territory.

She defeated two-term premier Paul Okalik and legislative member Tagak Curley in a vote by fellow members at the Nunavut Leadership Forum in Iqaluit.

She is Nunavut's second premier.

Okalik held the job since 1999 when the territory was first formed and then was re-elected to a second term.

Nunavut has a consensus style of government where members of the legislature choose the premier, speaker and executive council members.

Those chosen as executive members are: Lorne Kusugak, member of the legislature for Rankin Inlet South-Whale Cove; Keith Peterson for Cambridge Bay; Daniel Shewchuk for Arviat; Louis Tapardjuk for Amittuq; Peter Taptuna for Kugluktuk and Hunter Tootoo for Iqaluit Centre.

The premier will assign the members their ministerial portfolios on Tuesday, the first sitting day of the third legislative assembly.

Over the years Aariak has been a teacher and the Inuktitut book publishing co-ordinator for the Baffin Divisional Education Council.

She has also worked for the CBC as a radio and TV reporter, headed public affairs for the Office of the Interim Commissioner of Nunavut and was the director of training with Nunavut's Department of Human Resources.

When she was first appointed languages commissioner in December 1999, she said she wanted Nunavut to serve as a model of how three different languages can successfully co-exist.

The members of the legislature, voted into office in the Oct. 27 election, also chose James Arreak as the new speaker of the legislature.