Politics of Mongolia

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politics and government of

Politics of Mongolia takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, and of a multi-party system.[1][2][3] Executive power is exercised by the President and the Government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Socialist period and single party administration

From shortly after the Mongolian Revolution of 1921 until 1990, the Mongolian Government was modeled on the Soviet system; only the communist party—the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP)—was officially permitted to function. After some instability during the first two decades of communist rule in Mongolia, there was no significant popular unrest until December 1989. Collectivization of livestock, introduction of agriculture, and the extension of fixed abodes were all carried out without perceptible popular opposition.

Democratic movement

Elbegdorj talking at a demonstration, December 1989

The birth of perestroika in the former Soviet Union and the democracy movement in Eastern Europe were mirrored in Mongolia. On the morning of 10 December 1989, the first open pro-democracy demonstration met in front of the Youth Cultural Center in Ulaanbaatar.[4] There, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced the creation of the Mongolian Democratic Union.[5] Over the next months activists 13 democratic leaders continued to organize demonstrations, rallies, protests and hunger strikes, as well as teachers' and workers' strikes.[6] Activists had growing support from Mongolians, both in the capital and the countryside and the union's activities led to other calls for democracy all over the country.[7][8][9] After extended demonstrations of many thousands of people in subzero weather in the capital city as well as provincial centers, Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) (present Mongolian People's Party)'s Politburo – the authority of the government eventually gave way to the pressure and entered negotiations with the leaders of the democratic movement.[10] Jambyn Batmönkh, chairman of Politburo of MPRP's Central Committee decided to dissolve the Politburo and to resign on 9 March 1990.[11][12] Thus paved the way for the first multi-party elections in Mongolia.[6] Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced this news to the hunger strikers and the people those gathered on Sükhbaatar Square at 10PM on that day after the negotiations between leaders of MPRP and Mongolian Democratic Union.[13] As a result, Mongolia became the first successful country in Asia to transition into democracy from communist rule.[14] Elbegdorj worked as the Leader of the Mongolian Democratic Union in 1989–1997.[15]

Multi-party system establishment

As a result of the democratic movement that led to 1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia, in May 1990 the constitution was amended, deleting reference to the MPRP's role as the guiding force in the country, legalizing opposition parties, creating a standing legislative body, and establishing the office of president.

Mongolia's first multi-party elections for a People's Great Hural (parliament) were held on 29 July 1990. The MPRP won 85% of the seats. The People's Great Hural first met on 3 September and elected a president (MPRP), vice-president (SDP, Social Democratic Party), prime minister (MPRP), and 50 members to the Baga Hural (small parliament). The vice president was also a chairman of the Baga Hural. In November 1991, the People's Great Hural began discussion on a new constitution and adopted it on 13 January 1992. The Constitution entered into force on 12 February 1992. In addition to establishing Mongolia as an independent, sovereign republic and guaranteeing a number of rights and freedoms, the new constitution restructured the legislative branch of government, creating a unicameral legislature, the State Great Khural (SGKh) (parliament).

The 1992 constitution provided that the president would be directly elected by popular vote rather than by the legislature as before. In June 1993, incumbent Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat won the first direct presidential election, running as the candidate of the democratic opposition.

As the supreme legislative organ, the SGKh is empowered to enact and amend laws, regarding domestic and foreign policy, to ratify international agreements, and declare a state of emergency. The SGKh meets semi-annually. There are 76 members of the parliament. They were popularly elected by district in 1992-2012. By 2012 legislative election law, since 2012 parliamentary election, a parallel voting system began to be used in legislature in Mongolia. 48 of the parliamentary members are popularly elected by district and 28 of them are elected from nationwide lists using proportional representation.[16] SGKh members elect a speaker and vice speakers from each party or coalition in the government and they serve 4-year term.

Political developments

Until June 1996 the predominant party in Mongolia was the ex-communist party Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP). The country's president was Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat (Democratic Party) in 1990-1997. Ochirbat was a member of MPRP until 1990 but changed his party membership to Democratic Party following the democratic revolution.

Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, as the chairman of the Democratic Party, co-led the Democratic Union Coalition to its first time historic victory in the 1996 parliamentary elections winning 50 out of 76 parliamentary seats. Democratic Union Coalition of Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party (chairman Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj) was in power in 1996-2000.[17] Mendsaikhany Enkhsaikhan, election manager of Democratic Union Coalition worked as the Prime Minister from 7 July 1996 to 23 April 1998. In 1998, a clause in the constitution was removed that prohibited members of parliament to take cabinet responsibility.[18] Thus on 23 April 1998, the Parliament elected (61–6) Elbegdorj, chairman of the Democratic Union Coalition and the Majority Group at the Parliament as the Prime Minister.[19] Due to opposition MPRP's demand Elbegdorj lost confidence vote at the Parliament[20] and was replaced by Janlavyn Narantsatsralt (Democratic Party) on 9 December 1998.[21] Janlavyn Narantsatsralt worked as the Prime Minister for eight months until his resignation in July 1999. Rinchinnyamyn Amarjargal became Democratic Party's new chairman and served as the Prime Minister from 30 July 1999 to 26 July 2000.

In 1997 Natsagiin Bagabandi (MPRP) was elected as the country's President in 1997 Mongolian presidential election. He was re-elected as President in 2001 Mongolian presidential election and served as the country's President until 2005.

As a result of 2000 parliamentary elections MPRP was back in power in the parliament and the government as well as the presidency.

The vote in the 2004 parliamentary elections was evenly split between the two major political forces – Motherland-Democratic Coalition of Democratic Party and Motherland Party and the MPRP.[22] Thus it required the establishing of the first ever coalition government in Mongolia between the democratic coalition and the MPRP. On 20 August 2004, Elbegdorj became the Prime Minister of Mongolia for the second time leading a grand coalition government.[23]

In 2005 Mongolian presidential election Nambaryn Enkhbayar (MPRP) was elected as the country's President.

The MPRP won a majority (46 of 76 seats) in 2008 parliamentary elections. The Democratic Party won 27 seats with the three remaining seats going to minor parties and an independent. MPRP formed a coalition government with the Democratic Party although MPRP had enough seats to form a government alone at the parliament.

On 24 May 2009, in 2009 Mongolian presidential election, Democratic Party candidate Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj made a victory over incumbent President Nambaryn Enkhbayar.[24] Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj was sworn into office and became the country's president on 18 June 2009.[25] Elbegdorj is Mongolia's first president to never have been a member of the former communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party and the first to obtain a Western education.[26]

In 2010 former communist party Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party reverted its name to its original name, the Mongolian People's Party. After his defeat in 2009 presidential election, Nambaryn Enkhbayar established a new political party and named it Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party after receiving the old name of Mongolian People's Party from the Supreme Court of Mongolia in 2010. Enkhbayar became the chairman of the new party.[27]

In June 2012 the Democratic Party won the 2012 parliamentary elections and became the majority at the Parliament. The Democratic Party established a coalition government with Civil Will-Green Party, and Justice Coalition of new MPRP and Mongolian National Democratic Party due to Democratic Party having not enough seats at the parliament to establish a government on its own by law. Members of the Parliament are: 35 from Democratic Party, 26 from Mongolian People's Party, 11 from Justice Coalition, 2 from Civil Will-Green Party, and 3 independents.[28]

Incumbent President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, candidate of Democratic Party won the 2013 Mongolian presidential election on 26 June 2013[29] and was sworn into office for his second term as President of Mongolia on 10 July 2013.[30] Thus, since 2012 the Democratic Party has been in power holding both presidency and government.

Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj Democratic Party 18 June 2009
Prime Minister Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat Mongolian People's Party 7 July 2016


The presidential candidates are usually nominated by parties those have seats in the State Great Khural and from these candidates the president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term. The president is the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and Head of the National Security Council. He is popularly elected by a national majority for a 4-year term and limited to two terms. The constitution empowers the president to propose a prime minister, call for the government's dissolution, initiate legislation, veto all or parts of a legislation (the State Great Khural can override the veto with a two-thirds majority),[1][2] and issue decrees, decrees giving directives become effective with the prime minister's signature. In the absence, incapacity, or resignation of the president, the SGKh chairman exercises presidential power until inauguration of a newly elected president.


The Government, headed by the Prime Minister, has a four-year term. The President appoints the Prime Minister, after elections, and also appoints the members of the Government on the proposal of the Prime Minister, or if the latter is not able to reach a consensus on this issue with the President, within a week, then he or she shall submit it by to the State Great Khural for the cabinet to be appointed.[3] The Cabinet consists of thirteen ministries.[31] Dismissal of the government occurs upon the Prime Minister's resignation, simultaneous resignation of half the cabinet, or after the State Great Khural voted for a motion of censure.





The State Great Khural (Ulsyn Ikh Hural in Mongolian) (the Parliament) is unicameral with 76 seats, which are allocated using the mixed-member proportional representation. 48 of the parliamentary members are directly elected by district and 28 of them are appointed by the political parties by proportional representation. SGKh members elect a speaker and vice speakers from each party or coalition in the government and they serve four-year term.

Political parties and elections

Ger set up by the Democratic Party for an election campaign in Khövsgöl, 2006
For other political parties, see List of political parties in Mongolia. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Mongolia.
 Summary of the 26 June 2013 Mongolian presidential election results
Candidate Party Votes %
Tsakhiagiin ElbegdorjDemocratic Party622,79450.89
Badmaanyambuugiin Bat-ErdeneMongolian People's Party520,38042.52
Natsagiin UdvalMongolian People's Revolutionary Party80,5636.58
Invalid/blank votes13,688
Registered voters/turnout1,864,27366.50
Source: Mongolian Electoral Commission
  Summary of the 28 June 2012 Mongolian State Great Khural election results
Party Constituency Party list Total
+/– Votes summary
Seats +/− Seats +/− Votes % +/−
Democratic Party 24 Decrease6 10 Increase10 34 Increase4 399,194 35.32% +35.32
Mongolian People's Party 17 Decrease26 9 Increase9 26 Decrease20 353,839 31.31% +31.31
Justice Coalition (MPRP and MNDP) 4 Increase4 7 Increase7 11 Increase11 252,077 22.31% +22.31
Civil Will–Green Party 0 Decrease2 2 Increase2 2 Steady 62,310 5.51% +5.51
Independents 3 Increase2 0 Steady 3 Increase2
Totals 48 Steady 28 Steady 76 Steady 1,198,086 100%
Registered voters/turnout1,833,47865.24%
Source: General Election Commission of Mongolia, UB Post Mongolia Today News.mn Revote (News.mn)

The new constitution empowered a Judicial General Council (JGC) to select all judges and protect their rights. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body. Justices are nominated by the JGC, confirmed by the SGKh and appointed by the President. The Supreme Court is constitutionally empowered to examine all lower court decisions—excluding specialized court rulings—upon appeal and provide official interpretations on all laws except the constitution.

Specialized civil, criminal, and administrative courts exist at all levels and are not subject to Supreme Court supervision. Local authorities—district and city governors—ensure that these courts abide by presidential decrees and SGKh decisions. At the apex of the judicial system is the Constitutional Court of Mongolia, which consists of nine members, including a chairman, appointed for six-year term, whose jurisdiction extends solely over the interpretation of the constitution.

Administrative divisions

Mongolia is divided in 21 Aimags (provinces) and three municipalities/cities (khot): Arkhangai, Bayan-Ölgii, Bayankhongor, Bulgan, Darkhan-Uul, Dornod, Dornogovi, Dundgovi, Govi-Altai, Govisümber, Khentii, Khovd, Khövsgöl, Ömnögovi, Orkhon, Övörkhangai, Selenge, Sükhbaatar, Töv, Uvs, Zavkhan.

Local khurals (parliaments) are elected in the 21 aimags plus the capital, Ulaanbaatar. On the next lower administrative level, they are elected in provincial subdivisions and urban sub-districts in Ulaanbaatar.

See also


  1. 1 2 Shugart, Matthew Søberg (September 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive and Mixed Authority Patterns" (PDF). Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. United States: University of California, San Diego. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. 1 2 Shugart, Matthew Søberg (December 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive And Mixed Authority Patterns" (PDF). French Politics. Palgrave Macmillan Journals. 3 (3): 323–351. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200087. Retrieved 23 December 2015. Even if the president has no discretion in the forming of cabinets or the right to dissolve parliament, his or her constitutional authority can be regarded as 'quite considerable' in Duverger’s sense if cabinet legislation approved in parliament can be blocked by the people's elected agent. Such powers are especially relevant if an extraordinary majority is required to override a veto, as in Mongolia, Poland, and Senegal.
  3. 1 2 Odonkhuu, Munkhsaikhan (12 February 2016). "Mongolia: A Vain Constitutional Attempt to Consolidate Parliamentary Democracy". ConstitutionNet. International IDEA. Retrieved 17 February 2016. Mongolia is sometimes described as a semi-presidential system because, while the prime minister and cabinet are collectively responsible to the SGKh, the president is popularly elected, and his/her powers are much broader than the conventional powers of heads of state in parliamentary systems.
  4. G., Dari (5 December 2011). "Democracy Days to be inaugurated". news.mn (in Mongolian). Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  5. "Tsakhia Elbegdorj". Community of Democracies Mongolia. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  6. 1 2 Ahmed and Norton, Nizam U. and Philip (1999). Parliaments in Asia. London: Frank Cass & Co.Ltd. p. 143. ISBN 0-7146-4951-1. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  7. Baabar (16 November 2009). "Democratic Revolution and Its Terrible Explanations". baabar.mn (in Mongolian). Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  8. "Democracy's Hero: Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj". Washington: The International Republican Institute. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  9. "Mongolia Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Democratic Revolution". The International Republican Institute. 11 December 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  10. Wilhelm, Kathy (12 March 1990). "Mongolian Politburo resigns en masse". The Free Lance Star. Fredericksburg, VA. p. 4. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  11. "Entire Mongolian Politburo resigns". Lawrence Journal-World. Lawrence, KS. 12 March 1990. pp. 8A. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  12. Ch., Munkhbayar (13 March 2013). "What was the Mongolian democratic revolution?". dorgio.mn (in Mongolian). Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  13. Tsakhia, Elbegdorj (1999). Mongolian Democratic Union, New Period Youth Organization, and Mongolia's Young Leaders Foundation, eds. The Footstep of Truth is White book "Speech of Ulaan Od newspaper's correspondent Elbegdorj at Young Artists’ Second National Congress". Ulaanbaatar: Hiimori. p. 15. ISBN 99929-74-01-X.
  14. Gamba, Ganbat (2004). "The Mass Public and Democratic Politics in Mongolia" (PDF). Taipei: Asian Barometer. p. 3. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  15. Sanders, Alan J.K. (2010). Historical Dictionary of Mongolia. Third edition. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-8108-7452-7. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
    (PDF). 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  17. Lawrence, Susan V. (14 June 2011). "Mongolia: Issues for Congress" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  18. "Constitution of Mongolia". World Intellectual Property Organization. 13 January 1992. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  19. "April 1998". rulers.org. April 1998. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  20. Sanders, Alan J.K. (2010). Historical Dictionary of Mongolia. Third edition. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. pp. xviii. ISBN 978-0-8108-7452-7. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  21. Kohn, Michael (2006). Dateline Mongolia: An American Journalist in Nomad's Land. Muskegon, MI: RDR Books. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-57143-155-4. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  22. Zuckerman, Ethan (13 January 2006). "It is never too cold to riot in Ulaanbaatar". ethanzuckerman.com. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  23. "Ts. Elbegdorj is Prime Minister (August 20, 2004)". Open Society Forum. 20 August 2004. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  24. "Mongolia Profile". BBC. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  25. "Mongolia's new president sworn in". euronews.com. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  26. "Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj". globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  27. "Former MPRP is reborn and former President named chairman". Business-Mongolia.com. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  28. "Parliament of Mongolia (in Mongolian)". Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  29. "Incumbent Mongolian president wins 2nd term on pro-Western, anti-graft platform". The Washington Post. Washington. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  30. Khuder (10 July 2013). "Ts. Elbegdorj takes oath". Montsame News Agency. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  31. Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar: Montsame News Agency. 2006. p. 43. ISBN 99929-0-627-8.
  32. "Websites of Government Organizations of Mongolia". Government of Mongolia. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
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