Mongolia to hold local and parliamentary elections

Mongolia will today hold legislative elections for its unicameral parliament, the State Great Khural. Following the muted presidential victory of

Mongolia TheStraitsTimes

Photo: The Straits Times

Mongolia will today hold legislative elections for its unicameral parliament, the State Great Khural.

Following the muted presidential victory of Democratic Party (DP) populist candidate Khaltmaagiin Battulga over the Mongolia People’s Party (MPP) in 2017, today’s elections serve as a referendum on the DP and MPP’s political duopoly. Although the economic woes that fuelled the 2017 elections have subsided thanks to a significant increase in coal exports to China, Mongolian trust in the democratic process has not returned.

A record 121 independent candidates have registered for today’s legislative elections, pointing to growing frustration with the country’s entrenched political parties. Amid complaints of corruption, manipulation of voting systems, erosion of the judiciary’s independence, and general incompetence, fears of democratic backsliding have begun to emerge.

Due to a return to the 2008 system of multi-member majoritarian voting and an excellent COVID-19 response, it is highly likely that the MPP will retain control of the State Great Khural. The rise in independent candidates, although indicative of Mongolian’s frustrations with the MPP and DP, has fragmented the opposition, further cementing the MPP’s hold on power. Expect the MPP legislature to continue its platform of economic growth through closer ties with China, despite DP President Battulga’s desire for stronger ties to Russia.

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