A Crucial Week In Mongolia
Enkhbayar’s appeal to the Constitutional Court will not be heard until tomorrow, a mere two days before the election. At that point, the Constitutional Court will decide whether or not to even accept and review his petition. With the way things have been handled thus far, Enkhbayar will not be a candidate for his Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party.
One would think that corrupting the democratic process to this point would be enough, but the current Mongolian government has gone even further. The Sukhhbaatar District Court has ruled that Enkhbayar cannot leave the city until his trial thereby preventing him from campaigning for his party in the countryside, Elbegdorj’s homeland.
Before the ruling, Enkhbayar had been traveling to the countryside regularly and making excellent progress for his party. Warmly received everywhere that he campaigned he is now penned into campaigning within the city and, once again, prevented from truly challenging Elbegdorj.
Enkhbayar continues to be ranked amongst the top politicians in Mongolia. A recent poll by Sant Maral asked “Who is a politician you want to see more involved within the government and making changes?” as well as “Who is in your opinion a top politician in this country?” Enkhbayar was the number one choice to both these questions.
The people of Mongolia have been stripped of their democratic right to chose Enkhbayar at the upcoming elections. They are now being stripped of their right to hear from him on behalf of his party.
Those of us in the West know how important it is for party leaders to campaign. The results of these polls indicate that Enkhbayar is, indeed, a true threat to Elbegdorj’s reelection bid and make it all the more clear that Elbegdorj is doing everything in his power to ensure that Enkhbayar remains off the political scene until the election is over.
There can never be free and fair elections without everyone – particularly leading politicians – competing without restrictions or harassment.
Time is running out for the international community to act. We must face the grim reality that Enkhbayar will not be standing in the election, but must continue to push for him anyway. Anything less would be giving in to a corrupt and truly undemocratic government in Mongolia.
Doug Schoen, Contributor