Boldsaikhan Sambuu

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A voter receives gloves at a polling station in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on June 24. (Khurelkhuu Enkhjargal/AP)

When Mongolia held its June 24 parliamentary elections, more than 73 percent of voters turned up despite the heavy rains, and followed strict two-meter distancing requirements to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus. The preliminary results show that the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), led by Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, won a landslide victory, securing 62 seats in the 76-member parliament with only 45 percent of the total votes.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) came in a distant second, winning 11 seats with 25 percent of the total votes. Two minor parties and an independent candidate won the remaining three seats.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week, the Mongolian parliament stunned pro-democracy advocates when it voted to remove the safeguards protecting the independence of its courts and its anti-corruption agency. In doing so, the parliament helped further President Khaltmaa Battulga’s ongoing attempt to consolidate power. The action follows months of scandal and protests, which facilitated the support Battulga needed for this week’s vote.

Many observers have considered Mongolia an unlikely “oasis of democracy” since it left the Soviet Union’s orbit in 1990. Now it’s the latest nascent democracy to begin sliding toward authoritarian rule. Before last week, Mongolian laws insulated judges from political pressure. Parliament appointed the head of the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC), and the president appointed the prosecutor general.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mongolia’s new president Khaltmaa Battulga, left, is accompanied by outgoing president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj during his inauguration ceremony in Ulaanbaatar on July 10, 2017. (Reuters/B. Rentsendorj)

On July 7, Mongolians elected a new president: Khaltmaa Battulga of the Democratic Party (DP), a former artist and world champion in the martial art of sambo. In the country’s first runoff election, Battulga won 50.6 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating Miyegombo Enkhbold of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), which holds a supermajority in parliament.

Battulga was sworn into office on July 11, succeeding his co-partisan and outgoing president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, who was ineligible for reelection, having served two consecutive terms. Thus, divided government — also known as cohabitation — continues in Mongolia: A DP president faces a parliament controlled by the MPP.…  Seguir leyendo »

Here are 4 things to know about Mongolia’s presidential election on Monday

On June 26, Mongolians will elect a president from among three candidates: Enkhbold Miyegombo, leader of the governing Mongolian People’s Party (MPP); Battulga Khaltmaa, a former member of parliament from the main opposition Democratic Party (DP); and Ganbaatar Sainkhuu, a last-minute candidate of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP). Having served two terms, current President Elbegdorj Tsakhia of the DP is ineligible.

To win outright, a candidate needs an absolute majority of the votes; otherwise, a second round of voting will be held between the top two candidates.

Mongolia lacks what political scientists identify as prerequisites for a liberal democracy. Nevertheless, since a peaceful transition in 1990 from communism, democracy has proved remarkably robust, earning Mongolia praise.…  Seguir leyendo »