Ruling party’s sweeping victory . . .
Mongolia’s parliamentary election concluded today with 68 per cent voter turnout as the country grapples to maintain its handle on the coronavirus. The Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), the current ruling party, won 63 out of 76 parliamentary seats, which will ensure it remains in power for the next four years. The main opposition party, the Democratic Party (DP), secured 10 seats while three small parties won one seat each. The MPP is a successor of the former ruling communist party and pursues a somewhat nationalistic, social-democratic policy orientation.
Capitalizing on successes . . .
Analysts identify two primary factors in explaining the MPP’s victory. The first is Prime Minister Khurelsukh’s decision to ban the use of low-grade (raw) coal in areas in and around the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, which has reduced choking winter air pollution. The other is the government’s success in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which it achieved by taking early and decisive preventative measures. Mongolia is the only country to have prevented community spread of the virus in Northeast and Central Asia. At the same, the state of emergency constrained opposition parties from campaigning widely while conferring significant advantages to the ruling party. However, the detention of six candidates (ffrom the opposition DP, the ruling MPP, and smaller parties) during the election raised concerns over judicial independence.
Stable policies, complicated geopolitics . . .
The ruling party’s election platform identified continuity over change, particularly in the mining sector. The election result is an important step in Mongolia’s democratic identity, particularly given its position in Central Asia between two authoritarian powers – China and Russia. And while both geopolitical giants would welcome the inclusion of Mongolia in their major regionalization efforts, such as Chinese-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization or Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, Mongolia is looking to maintain a balanced orientation of economic co-operation with its large neighbours while deepening democratic and other linkages beyond its immediate neighbourhood.
- East Asian Forum: Can Mongolia’s Election Shun Democratic Backsliding?
- Ikon: Election Results (in Mongolian)
- Montsame: Mongolia’s 2020 Parliamentary Election