Presidential veto succeeds . . .
The Mongolian parliament has failed to gather two-thirds of the votes required to override a presidential veto on a constitutional referendum on proposed revisions to country’s 1992 Constitution that was set to take place at the end of the month. The proposed constitutional revisions were aimed at reducing presidential powers over the judiciary, as well as the president’s term-limit, while empowering the government (i.e. the prime minister) and limiting parliament's role in Mongolia’s budgetary process. The president vetoed the resolution on the grounds that it did not conform to procedural law on constitutional amendments and national referenda.
Concerns over political stability . . .
The over-riding concern among members who supported the presidential veto appears to be political stability. Although the ruling party, the Mongolian People’s Party, holds enough votes to override the presidential veto, many of its members are concerned about the upcoming elections and the use of the referendum as a political tool. Ignoring the presidential veto would have provided the opposition party an opportunity to politicize the constitutional revision as a closed, one-sided process. It also seemed unlikely that the constitutional referendum would have succeeded due to low voter turnout or a failure to get the majority vote. An unsuccessful referendum would certainly create an opportunity for the current president to push the presidential system over a parliamentary system.
Opening doors for populism . . .
Parliament's ‘acceptance’ of the presidential veto will temporarily reduce tensions between the president and parliament, but it leaves many questions unanswered. First, the judiciary and law-enforcement agencies remain vulnerable to political influence. The president will continue to maintain his influence over chief judges, prosecutors, and anti-corruption agency leaders. Second, the government remains unstable, as a small number of MPs can still initiate non-confidence voting for the prime minister or cabinet members. Third, more MPs will likely lobby for increasing the number of members (from 76 to 108) and extending the term-limit from four to five years, instead of key constitutional revisions for political stability and judicial independence. Both are important features for Mongolian democracy watchers and investors.
- Gogo: Parliament accepts presidential veto (in Mongolian)
- News.mn: Parliamentary session accepts the veto (in Mongolian)
- Parliament: Parliament accepts the presidential veto on the 73rd resolution (in Mongolian)