Mongolia peacefully transitioned into a democratic society in July 1990, enshrining multi-party politics constitutionally in 1992. The country is often used as an illustration of a regime of consolidation and stability in the otherwise tumultuous post Soviet space. Here, we take a look at the Mongolian system of government, its successes and its challenges.
The State Great Khural is the highest agency of state power in the Constitution. Deputies are elected from districts and serve four-year terms. Candidates are proposed by political parties, trade unions, farm organizations, and other social organizations. Prior to Election Day the names of candidates for these constituencies are published in the press. Registered voters can vote for a candidate by placing an unmarked ballot bearing the candidate's name in the ballot box. To vote against a candidate, a voter must strike the candidate's name from the ballot.
The State Great Khural, which convenes once a year, elects its own officers, including a chairman (or speaker) and four deputy chairmen. It selects standing commissions, on matters such as the budget, legislative proposals, nationality affairs, and foreign affairs. Constitutional powers accorded to the State Great Khural include amendment of the constitution, adoption of laws, formation of the Cabinet, and confirmation of the Prime Minister, the national economic plan, and the budget.
The following committees are assisted in specialized areas of government work:
- Environmental protection;
- Trade and services;
- Transportation and communications;
- Education, Culture and Scientific affairs;
- Labor resources;
- Youth affairs;
- Budgets and planning;
- Agriculture and Food
- Environmental Protection
- Foreign Affairs
- Foreign Economic Relations and Supply
- Power, Mining, Industry, and Geology
- Light Industry
- People's Education
- Public Security
- Social Economy and Services
- Trade and Procurement
The President, elected for five year terms, in turn nominates a Prime Minister for a term of up to four years. The Prime Minister appoints the governors of the aimags, or regional districts, and the governor of Ulaanbaatar. The political parties nominate members of the Cabinet, who then get confirmed by the State Great Khural. The Cabinet is the "highest executive and administrative agency of the state.” Members of the Cabinet are typically party members.
The Mongolian judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is described in the Constitution as the highest judicial authority and rules all judicial agencies. Supreme Court justices are nominated for presidential approval by the General Council of Courts, with 12 subordinate judges and a chief judge currently serving. The lower courts consist of city courts, district courts, aimag courts, soum and inter-soum courts. In 1992 a number of specialized courts were established with jurisdiction in criminal, civil and administrative matters. Regulations then passed in 2004 established a system of administrative courts, with each aimag possessing one, and with the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court acting as both a final court of appeal and as the intermediate court of appeal. In 2011, this system was amended to establish the Administrative Court of Appeals, which now sits to hear intermediate cases.
Past Election Outcomes
In Summer 2012, Parliamentary elections brought to power a coalition government consisting of the Democratic Party, the Mongolia People’s Party and the Justice Coalition. The majority of the members are from the generally free market minded Democratic Party.
Concerns were voiced before the polls even commenced due to the arrest of former president Nambaryn Enkhbayar upon the 12th April, who was imprisoned by the Independent Authority Against Corruption over allegations of misconduct during his time in office. With the exception of this incident, the actual parliamentary process has been seen to be a reasonable success. The Democratic Party gained 31 seats, representing the largest parliamentary grouping, whilst the Mongolia People’s Party polled closely behind, with 25 seats. The Justice Coalition (a combined effort from the MPRP and the MNDP) acquired a sizable 11 seats (with support somewhat fueled by a public outcry over N. Enkhbayar’s treatment), whereas the Civil Will Green Party and independent candidates obtained two and three seats respectively. The results were generally accepted by all major groupings; some complaints were voiced by the MPRP when the initial results were published criticizing the untested nature of the electronic vote counting machines, however they soon deceased as it became obvious their claims rested upon little substance. The most recent election, held on June 26th, consolidated the ruling Democratic Party's control over the government with incumbent Ts. Elbegdorj claiming a second term as president.