Mongolian President’s Party Likely to Lead Parliament
A change in control of Mongolia’s Parliament appears likely after the Democratic Party this week picked up the most votes in legislative elections, during which politicians campaigned on populist promises to share mining wealth.
The outcome, based on preliminary results, appears to give the Democratic Party, which is aligned with Mongolia’s sitting president, the best shot at controlling the 76-member Parliament. Still, since it hasn’t won a majority, analysts anticipate weeks of jockeying for control between the political factions and a vigorous fight from the current prime minister’s Mongolian People’s Party, which had been in a position of control.
According to preliminary figures reported Friday by the Election Commission, the Mongolian Democratic Party took 32% of the 1.16 million votes cast in Thursday’s election, topping 28% for Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold’s Mongolian People’s Party. A coalition party held 20% of the vote, with the remainder of votes split between more than a half-dozen other parties.
Julian Dierkes, a Canadian academic who monitored the vote, said the Democratic Party did well by focusing on “bread-and-butter” social issues and capitalizing on calls for political change.
In the lead-up to the vote, analysts played down differences between the major parties over policies such as foreign investment, mining expansion and international relations. Nevertheless, they said Mongolian politicians face increasing pressure to address widespread poverty, which remains the North Asian nation’s biggest problem. The poverty issue persists despite waves of money into the mining sector that have sent economic-growth rates surging.
The Democratic Party declared victory, expressing confidence it will be able to form a government. The party, which produced the current president, Elbegdorj Tsakhia, was born in street protests credited with hastening the country’s split from the Soviet Union and embrace of democracy in 1992.
By JAMES T. AREDDY