A few weeks ago, I posted about the Mongolian election. The opposition DP claimed that the results were unfair and there was rioting in which the ruling MPRP party’s office was set alight and five people were left dead.
The situation is still confused. No official electoral results have been posted by the General Election Commission. Worse, it appears that the president has received two different versions of the results. According to a Mongolian news blog, the first set of results on 10 July gave the MPRP 36 seats with a number of results still outstanding. Mongolia’s parliament has 76 seats, so this would mean that the MPRP would require a coalition partner, presumably the opposition DP, or that it would have to govern as a minority. However, on 14 June the updated list gave the MPRP 39 seats, enough for a majority. Ten results (covering three constituencies) are still outstanding.
Last week the new parliament was due to meet for the first time, but there was no quorum as the DP representatives stayed away. (A quorum is 56 deputies and the DP have 25 deputies). Another attempt to convene parliament was held yesterday, but again the DP stayed away. In the meantime, the two parties are holding talks. it is not entirely clear what the talks are about, but one blog seems to imply that they are about policy issues that divide the parties rather than anything to do with government formation.
The DP is being criticised for not accepting the result of the election. However, the General Election Commission is also coming under criticism for still not having delivered definitive results a month after the election.
The results of the Mongolian election have sparked rioting, deaths and the imposition by the president of a state of emergency.
The election results appear to have given the ruling MPRP 45 of the 72 seats in the legislature and 27 seats to the main opposition Democratic Party. Obviously this gives the MPRP an absolute majority and it is likely to end the problems of unstable government.
However, the opposition have denounced the election as rigged. After the election, demonstrators rioted. This was in response to the elections and also in the context of general claims of corruption. The MPRP’s office was set alight and five people were left dead in clashes with the police. There is now a curfew in Ulaanbaatar after President Enkhbayar declared a four-day state of emergency starting on 3 July.
Mongolia has a perfect +10 score for democracy according to Polity (last year 2006). Mongolia also has an almost perfect score of 1.5 from Freedom House (last year 2007).
The MPRP (or MAKN) party is likely to win a majority in Mongolia’s election reports the UB Post. The General Election Committee reported that the turnout was 74.3 per cent compared with about 82 per cent in 2004.
In the previous parliament the MPRP held 37 of the 76 seats in parliament. This time the party secretary is claiming that the party will win at least 38 seats, which would be enough for a working majority at least.
This election result would avoid any cohabitation.
By the way, I misled you in the previous post about the electoral system. There was a change after the last election and it is now a multi-member system.
Mongolia holds its legislative election on 29 June.
The situation in Mongolia is particularly interesting. The current MPRP (or MAKN) government holds 37 seats in the 76-seat parliament and has the support of two other deputies to hold a majority. The party is quite divided and in November 2007 the MPRP ousted its own party chair, which forced the appointment of its new leader as prime minister.
The president, who was elected in 2005, is also from the MPRP. The next presidential election is in 2009. The Mongolian president is a fairly weak institution.
A feature of the Mongolian political scene is the increasing fragmentation of the party system. This time 12 parties are running for office. In the early years of Mongolian democracy, there was a clear two-block system – the MPRP vs the rest. Now, the number of parties has increased and party boundaries have become more fluid. This raises the possibility that no party will gain a majority and that a multi-party coalition will be required. It also raises the possibility of cohabitation if the opposition parties win just a handful more seats. (Remember that Mongolia has been one of the most cohabitation-prone countries since 1990).
The Mongolian electoral system is British-style SMP. This means that small shifts in support can result in big seat-swings. So, there is still all to play for. The government has been accused of corruption, but the opposition seems to lack cohesion and a clear alternative.
There is a very good chapter on Mongolia by Sophia Moestrup and Gombosurengiin Ganzorig in R. Elgie and S. Moestrup (eds.) Semi-presidentialism Outside Europe.