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Mongolia Modern History

President Chorloogijn Tjojbalsan - "Mongolia's Stalin" - was the leader of the Communist country from 1939 to 1952, when he died. The political thaw in the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s also affected Mongolia. Some liberalization occurred under the successor of the Tjojbalan Jumzjaagijn Tsedenbal.

Soviet influence remained significant in all areas of society, while the Chinese attempts to influence were rejected by the leaders of Ulan Bator. In the mid-1960s, thousands of Chinese working in the country were expelled. Mongolia instead received tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers, who were stationed along the Mongolian-Chinese border, among other things, and contributed to the Soviet Union's defense against China.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER: List of most commonly used acronyms containing Mongolia. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.

In 1984, Tsedenbal was forced out of power by opponents within the ruling Communist Party. The successor, Zhambyn Batmönch, tried to implement political reforms similar to President Mikhail Gorbachev's glass nest in the Soviet Union, but the half-hearted reform attempts failed to save the communist dictatorship. In 1986, President Gorbachev declared that Soviet troops would be withdrawn from Mongolia. Six years later, the last Soviet soldiers left the country.

Contemporary History of MongoliaDemocratic reforms

The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe from 1989 to 1990 inspired opposition to political rule in Mongolia. New parties were formed and large demonstrations were held. The most significant opposition movement, the Mongol Democratic Association, and its most important phalanx, the Mongol Democratic Party (MDP), were soon recognized by the regime and a dialogue began.

President Batmönch resigned, the constitution was rewritten and the Communist Party's monopoly of power abolished. But in the 1990 parliamentary elections, the Reformed Communist Party won the Mongolian Revolutionary Party (MPRP) a full 357 out of 430 seats. The largest opposition party became the MDP with 16 seats. The MPRP's big victory was partly because the electoral system favored the ruling party and partly because the opposition was divided. Despite the clear election results, a broad coalition government was formed. Parliament elected MPRP leader Punsalmaagijn Otjirbat as president.

Although the MPRP retained its dominant position, the communist era was definitely over. A new constitution was adopted in 1992 and the country changed its name from the Mongolian People's Republic to Mongolia alone.

In the same year, general elections were held for the new single-chamber parliament, the big hural, and the MPRP again won over the divided opposition. The party received 57 percent of the vote but as much as 90 percent of the parliamentary mandate, as the electoral system favored rural areas where the MPRP was strong.

After the election loss, the MDP merged with four other parties and formed the Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP), which required the introduction of a proportional electoral system. But MPRP instead increased their own chances of winning future elections by introducing majority elections in one-man elections.

Opposition takes over

Ahead of the 1996 elections, the opposition succeeded in gathering in the Democratic Alliance, which won 50 of Parliament's 76 seats. MPRP's defeat was explained by popular dissatisfaction with widespread corruption and financial abuse among the power holders.

The non-socialist government started selling out state-owned companies, raising prices for previously subsidized goods, mainly energy. It obviously became a shock to the population. In the 1997 presidential election, the newly appointed MPRP leader Natsagijn Bagabandi won.

Despite the growing dissatisfaction of the inhabitants, the government continued with the economic transformation. Loss-generating state-owned companies were closed down and municipal service charges increased. Reform policy received praise from Western countries, but the new openness also attracted fraud. The coalition was plagued by internal tearing and frequent exchanges at the Prime Minister's post. At the same time, the economy deteriorated, unemployment was high, crime and corruption flourished and dissatisfaction increased among the Mongols.

In the 2000 election, MPRP won a landslide victory. The new MPRP government promised increased wages and pensions, but at the same time advocated continued privatization.

After the election loss, MNDP merged with four other parties and formed the Democratic Party (DP).

MPRP leader Bagabandi was re-elected president in May 2001.

Drought and increased poverty

The years 2000-2001 were characterized by prolonged drought, followed by extremely cold winters. A large part of the country's livestock stock went down. Poverty increased, famine was threatened and Mongolia received emergency relief from outside.

The major opposition parties formed before the June 2004 parliamentary elections, the Democratic Alliance of the Democratic Coalition. The election results showed a dead run between the blocs and the MPRP and the opposition formed a unity government. Democratic activist Tsachiagijn Elbegdorzj from DP became new prime minister.

The cooperation was soon subjected to pressure. The spring of 2005 was marked by popular protests against widespread corruption and the many economic reforms. In the May presidential election, MPRP party leader Nambaryn Enchbajar won.

In January 2006, the unifying government collapsed. MPRP's new leader Mijeegombyn Enchbold formed a new government with members from his own party and three small parties as well as with defunct DP politicians.

At the MPRP party congress in October of the same year, Enchbold was forced out of the party leader post. Sanzjaagijn Bajar was elected new chairman. One month later, Enchbold also handed over the Prime Minister's post to Bajar.

Worried choice

The contradictions between the two major parties MPRP and DP were great before the 2008 parliamentary elections. Several parties also worried about the environmental impact of the quarry and expressed doubts about whether the profits from mining would benefit the population. In 2006, a new law was passed which stipulated that the state should own at least 50 percent of a mine. Particularly contentious were the ongoing negotiations between the state and the international mining companies that wanted to mine gold and copper in Ojuu Tolgoj in the Gobi Desert.

Before the election, the opposition also criticized the government for high inflation and widespread corruption in the country. A new electoral law, which meant that part of the mandate would be distributed according to a proportional system, was expected to favor the opposition and increase the ability of the small parties to enter parliament.

But despite the new electoral law, the ruling MPRP won 47 of the 76 seats in Parliament and thus gained its own majority. DP became the largest opposition party with 26 seats. The turnout was 74 percent, the lowest rate since democratization in 1990.

The election result was followed by accusations from the opposition about cheating and manipulation of the results in several constituencies. DP demanded recalculation of the votes, while other parties accused both MPRP and DP of electoral fraud.

Widespread popular frustration over the election results, corruption and growing social divisions led to violent riots erupting in the capital Ulan Bator the days after the election. The MPRP's office was set on fire, five people were killed and 716 people were arrested by the police. President Nambaryn Enchbajar announced an emergency permit for four days to give the police extended powers to stop the riot. That meant a nightly curfew, tough media restrictions (only the state TV station could broadcast its programs) and a stop for alcohol sales.

The riot was wounded and 244 of those arrested were sentenced to prison. The police management was later fired for deficiencies in handling the rattles.

Collective government takes over

The DP withdrew from the violence but declared that the party intended to boycott the work in Parliament, as it considered it to be deprived of the election victory. Only in September 2008 was the crisis resolved and a government installed with MPRP leader Sanzjaagijn Bajar as prime minister. He formed a unity government with the DP, which received 40 percent of the ministerial posts. In protest of the collaboration, DP Party leader Tsachiagijn Elbegdorzj resigned and was replaced by the Norovyn Altanchujag.

The government and the parties decided to re-launch a review of the electoral law.

When the presidential elections were held in May 2009, everything went smoothly. Elbegdorzj, who was running for DP, won 51 percent of the vote against 47 percent of MPRP ex-president Enchbajar.

Upon his entry, Elbegdorzj promised, among other things, to fight corruption. With the elections behind, the government finally succeeded in agreeing with the companies that wanted to break gold and copper in the Gobi Desert. In October 2009, an agreement was signed giving the Mongolian state 53 percent of ownership in the mines in question. Three years later, Parliament passed a controversial new law that restricted foreign investment to 49 percent of the shares when the deals totaled more than $ 75 million.

Severe drought in the summer of 2009 was followed by an extremely cold winter 2010. Lack of bait occurred and caused mass death among the cattle on the steppe. An estimated 8.5 million animals died, or just over a fifth of the stock. A quarter of the 800,000 shepherds lost their livelihoods and nearly a quarter of the population needed emergency relief. In the summer of 2010, the UN appealed for disaster relief to Mongolia.

In the same year, MPRP changed its name to the Mongolian People's Party (MPP). The change of name caused division within the party. The following year, a party flank, led by Enchbajar, broke out of MPP and formed a new party under the old party name MPRP.

In January 2012, DP left the government to prepare for the upcoming June elections.

In April 2012, former President Enchbajar was jailed in Ulan Bator, accused of corruption. Enchbajar claimed that it was his political opponents who wanted to put him there. He was later sentenced to four years in prison for corruption and abuse of power.

In the June parliamentary elections, DP won 31 out of 76 seats, while 25 seats went to MPP and the remaining seats to small parties. The turnout was relatively low, 65 percent. The official result dragged on at the time of technical problems in the voting, despite the introduction of a new electronic counting system to avoid the chaos that characterized the 2008 election. MPP and eight smaller parties filed a protest demanding that the votes be reconsidered for hand.

DP initiated government negotiations with the Justice Coalition, which received 11 seats in the election, which also included the newly formed MPRP of Enchbajar, and with the smaller party the Civil Courage Party -The Greens. In August, Norovyn Altanchujag was appointed prime minister of the new coalition government.

 
 

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