Mongolian voters rejected the failed economic policies of the ruling Democratic Party (DP). The main opposition party, the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) won a landslide majority of 65 out of 76 seats. The DP retained just 9 of the remaining seats with other parties winning two. The former prime minister lost his own seat. One seat went to the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), and one to an independent, popular folk singer Samand Javkhlan, who has taken up environmental causes.
Magsarjaviiin Bold, a construction worker said: "I voted for the MPP because the DP used their power only for their own good. They are mostly businessmen and did things that only profited them." In 2011, the year before the DP came to power, Mongolia's GDP rose an astounding 17.3 percent but by last year that had shrunk to just 2.3 percent. For this year the IMF predicts a growth rate of just 0.4. Turnout for the election was 72 percent. More women were elected this time 13, as compared to 11 before, even though there were fewer women candidates. The MPP received a massive 85 percent of the vote.
Polling by the International Republican Institute showed that over 60 percent of Mongolians felt the country was headed in the wrong direction. Voters were concerned at corruption within politics and the inability of the government to generate jobs from the plentiful natural resources of the country. This is partly due to diminishing demand from countries such as China for commodities such as coal.
The MPP has deep roots in Mongolia as it was the ruling party during the communist era. However, many Mongolians see the two main parties as ruling in the interests of powerful families and it remains to be seen how much real change there will be with the MPP. The party chair, Miyegombiin Enkhbold said that the party would "do our best to fix the economic and social downturns". The main concerns during the campaign were the slowing economy but mounting debt was also an issue.
Mogi Badral Bontoi, CEO of Cover Mongolia an intelligence firm said: "Our political parties don't really have a political ideology that unites them. Politicians join their parties not because of their political ideology... but which party gives them the best chance to gain power, gain influence." The electoral laws were changed for this election so that small parties and independents had less chance of being elected.
Foreign investors have been interested in the vast mineral resources in the country. Rio Tinto just last month approved a $5.3 billion expansion plan for its Oyu Tolgoi copper mine. However, at present copper prices are quite low. When the MPP last held power the mining area developed so quickly the country was nicknamed "Mine-golia".
Like this writer's work please donate:
Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.