Mongolia held its sixth presidential election yesterday.
There were only three candidates. In part, this is due to the restrictive nomination procedures that allow only parties represented in parliament to stand candidates and there are very few parties represented there.
President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of the Democratic Party was standing for re-election. The Democratic Party currently holds the premiership in a coalition government with the Justice Coalition.
The results are being reported as follows:
- Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (Democratic Party) – 50.23%
- Badmaanyambuugiin Bat-Erdene (Mongolian People’s Party) – 41.97%
- Natsag Udval (Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party) – 6.5%
So, it seems clear that President Elbegdorj has been re-elected and without the need for a second ballot.
For more details about the campaign and the results, please refer to the excellent blog by Julian Dierkes at UBC.
The general election in Mongolia took place on 28 June. InfoMongolia is reporting that the following deputies took the parliamentary oath at the first session of the State Great Khural:
- Democratic Party – 31 seats
- Mongolian People’s Party – 25 seats
- Justice Coalition – 8 seats
- Independents – 3 seats
- Civil Will/Green Party – 2 seats
Seven seats have still to be decided.
The negotiations to form a government seem to have reached agreement. There will be a coalition between the Democratic Party, the Justice Coalition and the Civil Will/Green Party. It is also possible that one of more of the Independent deputies may join the coalition.
InfoMongolia is reporting that the Democratic Party and the Civil Will/Green Party will have 75% of the ministries and the Justice Coalition will have 25%.
The president is also from the Democratic Party. So, there is no chance of cohabitation. There is a very nice article on the Democratic Party and its various factions at Mongolia Today.
The parliamentary election was held in Mongolia on Friday 28 June.
UB Post provides details of the electoral system. There are 76 seats to be won in the State Great Khural (parliament). Of these, 48 are elected by a simple majority system in 26 electoral districts. The remaining 28 are elected by a party list proportional system. There is a threshold of 5%.
There seems to have been some dispute over the counting of votes. This time electronic counting was introduced to try to avoid the claims of fraud in previous elections. However, it seems as if there has been a manual count this time too because of claims of irregularities. Anyway, the exact result remains unclear, but these are the figures from Info Mongolia.
- Democratic Party – 35.32%
- Mongolian People’s Party – 31.31%
- Justice Coalition – 22.31%
- Civil Will Green Part – 5.51%
- Third Party Coalition – 1.47%
- Green Party – 1.33%
- Motherland Party – 0.8%
- Mongolian Traditional United Party – 0.58%
- Civil Movement Party – 0.56%
- United Party of Patriots – 0.3%
- Mongolian Social Democratic Party – 0.18%
- Development Program Party – 0.18%
- Freedom Implementing Party – 0.15%
It seems as if two of the majority seats were not filled and will have to be held again. Anyway, leaving those two seats aside, the party breakdown in parliament seems to be the following:
- Democratic Party – 31 seats
- Mongolian People’s Party – 27 seats
- Justice Coalition (Mongolian Revolutionary People’s Party, Mongolian National Democratic Party, and others) – 11 seats
- Independents – 3 seats
- Civil Will Green Party – 2 seats
Parliament met for the first time on 6 July. A majority comprises 39 seats. There is no government yet, but there is some talk of a coalition between the Democratic Party and the Justice Coalition. The president is from the Democratic Party, so there is little likelihood of cohabitation.
As ever, information is difficult to come by, but it seems as if the president of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, has vetoed a bill.
According to Mongolia Economy and Finance, in March President Elbegdorj vetoed the Law on regulating public and private interests in the public service and preventing conflicts of interests. The report also states that he partially vetoed the bill in February.
Art. 33 of the constitution states that the president has the power: “to exercise a right to veto against all or part of laws and other decisions adopted by the State lkh Khural. The laws or decisions shall remain in force if two thirds of the members of the State Ikh Khural present in the session do not accept the President’s veto”. So, partial vetoes are a possibility.
All of that said, I have not been able to corroborate this story from another source.
Information is sparse, to me anyway, but there are plans for electoral reform in Mongolia.
The reform seems to be motivated from the problems associated with the last legislative election in 2008. The Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (now just the Mongolian People’s Party – MPP) won virtually all the seats because of the majoritarian nature of the system. There was conflict, following which the opposition Democratic Party was, in effect, given some seats to make the situation less imbalanced. The two parties also formed a grand coalition.
The UB Post is reporting that decision makers are proposing an MMP system. However, there is disagreement between the two main parties as to the split between majoritarian seats and proportional seats. Moreover, the MPP has proposed putting the proposed system to a public vote. There has never been such a vote in Mongolia.
It is very difficult to obtain any information about Mongolia on an ongoing basis. This is a shame because Mongolia is a very interesting case of semi-presidentialism.
Anyway, some information about President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj’s use of his veto power is available. Art. 33 (1) of the Mongolian constitution states that the president shall “exercise a right to veto against all or part of laws and other decisions adopted by the State lkh Khural. The laws or decisions shall remain in force if two thirds of the members of the State Ikh Khural present in the session do not accept the President’s veto” i.e. the presidential veto can be overturned by a two-thirds majority.
President Elbegdorj is from the Democratic Party. The government is a coalition of the Democratic Party and the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), which won 46 of 76 seats in the highly contested 2008 legislative election. The Democratic Party has 27 seats. So, together, they obviously control a two-thirds majority. A complication is that in November 2010 the MPRP changed its name to the Mongolian People’s Party. However, a fraction of the party’s deputies refused to accept the change and has tried to form a new MPRP. My understanding is that this decision is currently before the courts. So, I am not sure about the precise de facto level of support for the parties.
In this context, the Wikipedia article on President Elbegdorj cites a Mongolian source as saying that he vetoed the budget (or perhaps a certain element of it) in December 2009. However, parliament overturned the veto. In October 2010 the president’s website reports that President Elbegdorj also issued a partial veto of a bill increasing the salaries of public sector workers. I have no information about whether the bill was overturned.
What this shows is that Mongolia continues to be an interesting case. There is a basic balance between the president and the PM. So, Mongolia is a nice case for testing whether this type of semi-presidential arrangement helps the system of checks and balances or whether it creates tensions within the government. What this also shows is that we need some way of obtaining more information about the country on an ongoing basis.
Prime Minister Sanj Bayar of the MPRP (Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party – Mongol Ardyn Khuvisgalt Nam / MAKN) has tendered his resignation, citing health reasons. He was appointed in November 2007.
The new PM is Batbold Sukhbaatar. Previously, he was the Foreign Minister. Mongolia Online reports that from “1992 and 2000, Batbold headed the trading company Altai Trading Co. Ltd., which formed a gold mining joint venture with Canadian Centerra Gold Inc.”. Mining is perhaps the biggest political issue in Mongolia and Sukhbaatar’s appointment can be seen as a mining-friendly one. He is on the left in the picture. President Elbegdorj is in the centre.
Separately, Asian Gypsy reports that on 18 October the MAKN (or MPRP) won a by election. The candidate was the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy and he won 60% of the vote. This is another confirmation of the importance of mining in Mongolia.
Mongolia held its presidential election on Sunday. The two candidates were the incumbent president and the candidate of the ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), Nambaryn Enkhbayar, and the candidate of the opposition Democratic Party and two-time former prime minister, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.
Mongolia Web cites the following result that apparently comes from the Election Commission:
Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj – 51.24%
Nambaryn Enkhbayar – 47.44%
Prior to the election, opinion polls had indicated that the contest was neck-and-neck, with Elbegdorj holding a very slight lead. There was a televised debate between the two candidates on 21 May.
Only parties with representation in parliament can stand candidates. There are currently four such parties. The Civil Will Party and the Green Party declined to stand and supported Elbegdorj.
In the election, Elbegdorj’s was ahead by nearly 12% in Ulan Bator, where nearly half of the population resides, whereas Enkhbayar had a 2% lead in the provinces.
Last year, in what were widely seen as flawed elections, the MPRP won a majority in the Great Hural (legislature), winning 46/76 seats. However, the Democratic party claimed fraud and there were riots. In September 2008 a coalition government was formed in which the Democratic party was given 40% of the posts, including one of the two deputy prime ministers.
For the record, the coalition agreement talked about constitutional reform, one element of which would involve perhaps increasing the prime minister’s authority and clarifying the president’s powers.
This is a series of posts that records the cases of cohabitation in countries with semi-presidential constitutions. Cohabitation is defined as the situation where the president and prime minister are from different parties and where the president’s party is not represented in the cabinet. Presidents classed as non-party cannot generate any periods of cohabitation.
Here is my list of cohabitations in Mongolia:
June 1993 – Jul 1996
President – Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat (MUAN/MNDP); PM – Puntsagiyn Jasray (MAKN/MPRP): Government – MAKN/MPRP
Jun 1997 – Apr 1998
President – Natsagiyn Bagabandi (MAKN/MPRP); PM – Mendsaikhany Enkhsaikhan (MUAN/MNDP); Coalition – MUAN/MNDP and DU (MSDN/MSDP)
Apr 1998 – Dec 1998
President – Natsagiyn Bagabandi (MAKN/MPRP); PM – Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj (MUAN/MNDP); Coalition – MUAN/MNDP and DU (MSDN/MSDP)
Dec 1998 – Jul 1999
President – Natsagiyn Bagabandi (MAKN/MPRP); PM – Janlavyn Narantsatsralt (MUAN/MNDP); Coalition – MUAN/MNDP and DU (MSDN/MSDP)
Jul 1999 – Jul 2000
President – Natsagiyn Bagabandi (MAKN/MPRP); PM – Rinchinnyamyn Amarjargal (MUAN/MNDP); Coalition – MUAN/MNDP and DU (MSDN/MSDP)
Source of party affiliations: http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Mongolia.htm
DU – Democratic Union (includes the MUAN/MNDP and the MSDN/MSDP
MAKN/MPRP – Mongol Ardyn Khuvisgalt Nam/Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party
MSDN/MSDP – Mongol Sotsial-Demokrat Nam/Mongolian Social Democratic Party
MUAN/MNDP – Mongoliin Undesii Ardcilsan Nam/Mongolian National Democratic Party
There are still no official results from July’s legislative elections in Mongolia. This is pretty amazing given Polity gave Mongolia a perfect democracy score of +10 for 2006. Actually, the same thing happened there in 2000. Anyway, the incumbent MPRP government is offering to establish a coalition government, even though it has a majority of seats. It is unclear whether this offer will be accepted by the opposition.