The Diplomat Podcast on Mongolia as Asia’s Hidden Geopolitical Player

By Julian Dierkes

I’m finally getting around to listening to The Diplomat’s podcast episode focused on Mongolia, “Northeast Asia’s Hidden Geopolitical Player“.

Ankit Panda, one of the editors of The Diplomat, speaks to Peter Bittner who spent some time in Mongolia earlier this year and has written about that for The Diplomat.

One of the reasons I want to discuss that podcast episode is that I enjoy The Diplomat podcast and website and appreciate that Ankit Panda does pay attention to Mongolia as one of the actors in Asian politics and international relations.

Panda and Bittner focused on Pres. Elbegdorj to some extent. Panda built on his curiosity about Elbegdorj’ status as “one of the world’s best-travelled” leaders. This is appropriate of course, as this is the last year in office for Pres. Elbegdorj, so that a discussion of Mongolia’s role in geopolitics may look somewhat different in two years or so after a new president has made his (most likely, yes, his) mark.

Permanent neutrality

As Panda noted, Elbegdorj made a bit of a splash at last year’s UN General Assembly by announcing that Mongolia would seek to achieve “permanent neutrality” to bolster its Third Neighbour Policy further.

That proposal was not received with much approval in Mongolia itself, though the discussion has generally been muted rather than opposed. Note that at his address at the 71st General Assembly, Pres. Elbegdorj did not mention permanent neutrality again this September.

The opposition to this proposal has been built around hesitancy to abandon the possibility of alliances entirely. That is not because there actually is a debate about a real re-commitment to Russia as Panda and Bittner discuss a little bit. Yes, there is a generally positive attitude toward Soviet history with Mongolia and toward contemporary Russia, but that only goes so far in the population as well as the leadership. But even for foreign policy leaders who are not considering any kind of closer “alliance” with Russia (China is completely out of the question in this regard, despite the ever-growing Mongolian dependence on Chinese bridge loans to paper over its fiscal woes), the permanent part of neutrality is somewhat off-putting.

Mongolian Aid

One element of foreign policy that Pres. Elbegdorj mentioned at the UN this year and that also has an impact on Mongolia’s hidden geopolitical ambitions/role is its aid program.

The International Cooperation Fund has been operational for some years now (I have coorganized activities with the ICF in the past), but Pres. Elbegdorj highlighted its work in democracy promotion in his congratulations to Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan on “their successful elections”.


Overall, Panda and Bittner provided a useful discussion.

Join me in a campaign to persuade Panda to speak of “Chinggis Khaan” rather than “Gengis” and we’ll appreciate his coverage of Mongolia even more.

Posted in China, Foreign Policy, Japan, Mongolia and ..., North Korea, Social Media, South Korea | Tagged | Leave a comment

Speculation Surrounding Erdenet Sale

By Julian Dierkes

A Massive Privatization Coup Right Before an Election?

It seemed odd that there was an announcement just before the June 29 election that the 49% portion of the longtime engine of Mongolian development, Erdenet mine, that was owned by Russian Monrostsvetment  was sold to the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia. The timing suggested that this was a political scheme related to the election. This was reinforced by the general perception that TDBM was associated with the DP.

Given that the DP was likely to lose big, the suspicion at the time was that the DP was trying to sway the election by showing itself to be a guarantor of Mongolian interests.

Obviously, voters were not swayed. To the contrary, a common interpretation at the time was that the MPP did not react to the announcement beyond an initial press conference  in part because it would showcase DP “muddling” in the economy and DP corruption. Voters would be able to judge for themselves, and it appears that they did.

But is that what was behind the relative quiet in reaction to the Erdenet announcement from the MPP?

Asking Questions About the Sale of Erdenet

Lkhagva E of Mongol TV has taken a leading role in investigating the sale as he reported previously on this blog. He has stayed with this story.

Initially, there was an announcement by Prime Minister J Erdenebat that a cabinet committee would investigate the sale. Lots of questions have been raised about who authorized the sale, who spoke for the Government of Mongolia in passing on a first-right-of-refusal opportunity to purchase the Russian stake, how is the governance of Erdenet Mine now organized (particularly given the re-shuffle of the management of Erdenes Mongol, the state holding company), etc. Erdenet is designated a strategic asset so that governance questions are especially pertinent. The committee was due to report August 5, then again August 25, but no report has appeared.

Asking Even More Questions About Erdenet

It now appears that Ts Nyamdorj, a leading politician in the governing Mongolian People’s Party, has taken on this issue and is pushing hard to follow up on some of the confusing leads.

Nyamdorj himself was forced to resign as chairman of the Ikh Khural in 2007 after it was asserted that he had changed laws that parliament had voted on. He continues to be a force in the MPP, however. While he is not a member of party leader M Enkhbold’s faction, he does not seem to be particularly antagonistic towards Enkhbold.

Speculation about Context for Erdenet Sale

In his pursuit of answers on the Erdenet sale, however, Nyamdorj appears to be pushing hard against party colleagues as well as the DP. Some of his remarks imply that there may have been collusion about the sale between the DP and the MPP. Many Mongolians are interpreting this to mean that some kind of agreement between Enkhbold and Pres. Elbegdorj must have existed at the time. That is also seen as speculation, but a reasonably explanation of why the MPP’s reaction to the announcement of the sale was so muted.

In response to some of the revelations by Nyamdorj, the government has begun releasing some documents and also made cabinet minutes of a meeting on June 13 public.

While I would emphasize that I am reporting on speculation here (some of which founded on documents released, but some of it on interpretation), this speculation is significant in shining a light on the activities of the president and the chairman of parliament with great implications for Mongolia’s further development. For development to be socially and economically sustainable, assets like Erdenet have to be protected with particular vigilance on behalf of Mongolians. The current understanding of how Erdenet was “privatized” suggests very little care, and hints at personal rather than national advantage.

It is also important to recognize that if some of this speculation about the sale of Erdenet is born out by further documents and revelations, this will severely undermine the MPP government’s efforts to portray itself as having turned a corner in how investors (foreign and domestic) are treated and how reliably the government as an investment partner is.

Posted in Corruption, Erdenet, Ikh Khural 2016, Mining, Mining Governance, Policy | Tagged | 7 Comments

Let’s Imagine a Rosy MPP Future

By Julian Dierkes

Just a quick reminder that I don’t dabble in Mongolian (party) politics, I just try to analyze political development, including parties and elections. In these analyses I try to stay as neutral and detached as I can.

Big Choice: Small-Mindedness or Future of the Country?

Given the size of the MPP majority, they clearly have the ability to carry to wide-ranging reforms if they decide to do so. But that ability also comes with a big responsibility for the country’s development. If Mongolians are not better off four years from now, lots of factors will have played a role, but the MPP government will be prominent among them.

So, my rosy-tinted imagination makes me think that perhaps the MPP leadership or some parts of the party will take stock and recognize that the large majority they’ve won is a real opportunity to reform the party, reform politics and set Mongolia on a different path.

Interpreting the Election Result

In that process, it is important to recall that the general sense around the June Ikh Khural election was that the MPP won its large majority be default, simply because it was not the DP, and because smaller parties and independents had been pushed aside by changes in the election law. The election should thus not be misinterpreted as a strong mandate for the MPP to do as they please.

Resisting (Economic) Pressures

As the MPP has taken over government positions, it has become clear how bad the state of public finance really is. The crushing debt that has resulted from the wasteful spending of the Chinggis Bond and thus the mortgaging of Mongolia’s financial future, leaves the new government very little manoeuvring  room for new policies and initiatives.

Yet, given the extent to which Mongolian politics is patronage politics where supporters expect to be compensated for their contributions with the spoils that go to the victors, it is very likely that many individuals and companies are knocking on the door of party chair and Ikh Khural chairman M Enkhbold to secure appointments. The recording of Enkhbold discussing the cost of particular posts that was leaked just before the election suggests that appointments potentially represent two “opportunities”: a) to reward supporters, and b) for sale. It should be noted that the MPP government is no different from previous DP or MP(R)P governments in this regard, yet, patronage is not a principle that is likely to yield good outcomes for the country and for Mongolians.

Ideally, the new MPP government would thus resist the urge to make money through appointments or in positions and focus on how to re-build the Mongolian economy or at least how to bridge the time until revenue streams from mining projects rev up without going further into debt. Such a turn away from political office as a money-making opportunity would have to come through strong leadership from the very centre of the MPP.

Policy Platform

Like the DP, the MPP would make a contribution towards its own long-term viability, toward the viability of Mongolian democracy, and toward sustainable development, by developing more of a policy platform for the party.

The massive majority the MPP commands in parliament offers the opportunity to engage in more fundamental policy analysis and development than the more day-to-day work of a tight majority or coalition government. In the same ideal world where the MPP resists the money-making urge, it also sets aside party resources, at least for the period after the presidential election and perhaps 18 months out from the 2020 election to develop policy-making capacity.

The MPP under M Enkhbold

Currently, from the outside, it seems like party leader M Enkhbold is very firmly in charge of the MPP and of the government. No alternative explanation has emerged for his decision to take the Ikh Khural chairmanship rather than becoming PM, other than his plan to run for president next year. In the meantime, no actions of the government so far suggest that Enkhbold is not pulling the strings in the background. Most of the appointments are identifiably close to him and from his “City” faction. Barring unforeseen developments, that would lead to the assumption that he would use his position as party chair to secure the candidacy for president next year. This has also been the pattern in previous presidents, i.e. they’ve kept a fairly close reign of the party even though they nominally relinquish their party position and even membership when they are nominated as a candidate for president.

Again from the outside, Enkhbold is not very easy to figure out. He strikes me as a politician who is somewhat similar to former (DP) prime minister N Altankhuyag. Neither of them are riveting speakers or particularly charismatic.

I attended a campaign rally in the final days of the 2012 campaign where Enkhbold spoke, then still a “regular” candidate from Tov.

MPP Candidates Speaking in Zun Mod in Final Days of 2012 Parliamentary Campaign (M Enkhbold on the left holding a microphone)

He was wooden in his presentation and there was nothing I saw to suggest that he connected with the audience in any particular way or inspired the party faithful.

On the other hand, like Altankhuyag, he seems to manage his party well, or certainly his faction. He is thus politically skilled. There are no particular policy agendas that he has associated himself with or distinguished himself by. Substantively, it is thus very difficult to expect anything concrete from his leadership, and his likely presidency would be similarly unclear. Note the parallel with Altankhuyag in this regard. Is there a positive policy or political decision that you can recall from Altankhuyag’s primeministership?

Enkhbold’s skills as a political operative raise some concerns over the extent to which he will be governing for the good of the people (especially in the more lofty role of president) as opposed to the good of his party or of himself. It’s obviously early to tell, but he has not given off any indications that he is reaching for bigger goals, though his government so far is limited by budget woes in what it might pursue.

Internal Opposition

The MPP election victory was such that there is essentially no opposition to its government. That is terrific, as it offers a real opportunity to consider policies carefully (see above) and to enact them strategically, but it is also dangerous as the usual checks-and-balances on democratic government are somewhat suspended under such a majority.

It becomes an important task for a ruling majority to give an opportunity to internal voices of (substantive) opposition, as well as listening to external criticism. This is especially true in a situation like the current MPP government where there is a strong sense that it won the election on the basis of an anyone-but… choice, rather than on the strength of its platform.

The MPP is much less likely (than the DP) to break out in factional disputes, so internal opposition will remain invisble. But, the presidential election in 2017 will be an important moment for the party. If Enkhbold is the official candidate of the MPP as I expect, he would relinquish the party chair. A number of MPP leaders who have been somewhat sidelined at the moment, including former president N Bagabandi, and former prime ministers S Bayar, and Su Batbold, may well try to regain some power within the MPP at that point by succeeding Enkbold as party chair. By contrast, Enkhbold will certainly seek to install a party chair from his own faction who may then replace J Erdenebat as prime minister as well. Should Enkhbold lose the presidential election after having been nominated, he would presumably not return as party chair.

Note that in this discussion of party politics, I have not mentioned the role of a younger generation of MPP leaders. Isn’t it time that the 1970s and 1980s cohorts step up to leadership position so that the MPP can avoid some of the leadership paralysis the DP has been suffering from?

Back to that Rosy Future…

But, those are only the strategic/factional/political aspects of an internal opposition.

To imagine some kind of rosy future, a political turn toward policy-making seems essential as is some kind of movement (from within or from the outside) against corruption.

That rosy future under M Enkhbold and the MPP is just that so far, a rosy imagined scenario. The coming year leading up to the presidential election will offer many challenges but will also begin to give observers (and Mongolians) a sense of what kind of government the MPP government will be.

Posted in Corruption, Ikh Khural 2016, Inequality, Mongolian People's Party, Party Politics, Policy, Politics, Public Policy, Public Service, Younger Mongolians | Tagged | 2 Comments

Election Impressions Germany vs Mongolia

By Julian Dierkes

I was an international election observer in 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2013. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to travel to Mongolia for the most recent election. But, I’ve never observed any aspects of elections in my home country, Germany, other than as a voter.

I am currently spending the academic year 2016-17 in Germany and the city state of Berlin voted on Sept 18 for the city parliament and thus the state government. Of course, this is not comparable to the Ikh Khural election in that it was only a state election, but still elections run somewhat similarly, I suppose. My time in Germany will have ended by the time of the federal election in the fall of 2017, so I will not have a chance to observe anything then.


Unlike a Mongolian election, there do not seem to be any formal observers in German elections. No party observers, no NGO observers, no international observers.

The counting of the votes is publicly accessible, however, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity of going to a polling station just before it closed to ask whether I’d be allowed to stay for the count. Since the law specifies that the counting is held publicly, I was allowed. Clearly, I asked in German and I’m not sure what would have happened if I had asked in a foreign accent, but for me this was certainly an easy and relaxed opportunity to observe.


The strongest impression I got, particularly when comparing to the Mongolian elections, that German elections are “old-school” and very relaxed. Clearly, the level of trust in the intentions and abilities of the administrative team is high and there is very little general suspicion of the process.

None of the innovations that we see in Mongolian polling stations exist in Germany.

No (party) observers, no video broadcast of the inside of the polling station, no “black machines” (or any other kind of machines), no ink to the finger to show that a voter voted, really no electronics.

Instead, voters’ bring in their notification of the upcoming election (with their name, and the show their national id). This is verified against a printed roll of voters. Voters are then handed their ballot. In the case of this election, there were three ballots, one for a direct candidate for the Berlin parliament, then the party vote for the proportional representation route to the Berlin parliament, then the party vote for the district parliament.

After the vote finishes, the election committee (including positions of a chair, vice-chair, and protocol-writer) opens the ballot box quite unceremoniously. No national anthem here. But also no video-taping and arguments about procedure that I saw in Mongolia when I was able to observe the counting process. Certainly also no fear about electricity being disconnected or anything like that. There was a very small number of spoiled ballots, but these were announced, shown, and did not lead to further discussion.

Counting proceeded in a relaxed, but careful manner, though I only observed the first stage of counting, the proportional representation party vote.


As is the case in Mongolia, it’s always important to recognize the people that make elections work. Whether it is volunteers, observers or public servants, they all deserve our thanks for their dedication, hard work, and contributions to democracy!

Trust in political institutions plays a huge role in how elections unfold. Even though Germany has some recent memory of the manipulation of votes (Nazi-Germany, as well as the German Democratic Republic), there appears to be a very high level of general trust in the election system which means that it is fairly unsupervised and there are few checks.

By contrast, Mongolians trust “the system” much less (as is evident in polls as well) and a lot of the mechanics of voting are intended to inspire more trust with limited success.


Posted in Democracy, Elections, Germany, Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Future of the DP?

By Julian Dierkes

A crushing defeat like the one that the DP suffered on June 29 should lead to some party-soul searching. More than two months after the election, I can only imagine that questions about the future of the DP, both, immediate as well as long-term are being asked.

To me, this soul-searching will have to find the answers to a whole host of questions. The answers to five big questions will determine the party’s future, I think.

I am writing this not because I am in any close to or supportive of the DP in a partisan way, but because a functioning democracy needs a vibrant opposition. While the recent election was a positive surprise in terms of the turnout, and its clear result, the overwhelming majority that the MPP now holds and might be able to build on for next year’s presidential election also holds some real risks.

1. Unity or Split?

The DP has alway struggled with its internal divisions and factions. It seems to me that this is in part because it was originally founded around opposition against the then-MPRP, now-DP, not as a political movement in a particular ideological direction. To the extent that the main issue in the DP’s platform is democracy, this has long been achieved in some ways in Mongolia, so it leaves the party without a unifying element. Sure, democracy requires continued work and vigilance, but it is no longer the main thrust of any kind of movement in Mongolia. The organizational origins in a number of different parties leaves the DP hamstrung as these parties, and sometimes more importantly, their leaders live on.

The nature of Mongolian politics with its focus on patronage also represents a centrifugal force. This was clear in the past election when one of the great frustrations that voters seemed to feel was around the internal struggles within the DP that prevented some policies/policy mistakes during the DP-led government.

It’s not that the MPP or other parties are immune from internal struggles, but the DP does suffer more (publicly) from there, so some of the efforts in the coming four years should be directed at unifying the party. If party unity cannot be built either through strong leadership (see 2.) or through the development of a policy platform (see 4.) perhaps the DP and also Mongolia would be better off with a split into two or even three parties that do have a clearer profile and would thus contribute to a sharpening of political discourse in Mongolia around policy questions.

2. Rejuvenation or Ossification?

One of the challenges to party unity has also been the continued leadership of the original democrats. Most of the more prominent DP politicians were involved in the democratic revolution of the early 1990s and very few younger or more recent politicians have come to the fore in the party.


Most prominently, this holds for Elbegdorj. Independent of his qualities as a politicians and/or policy-maker, he has been very involved in national politics for 25 years now. But, despite this long record, it does not seem entirely like he’s ready to leave politics yet even though his presidential term will run out next year and he is not allowed to run for president again (at least not next year).

Of course, “Ebe” was young when he got involved in democratic politics, so he’s still young now, at 53.

One or two years ago, most of the speculation focused on Elbergdorj’s likely ambition for some kind of international role, most likely with the UN. That’s certainly something that I have been expecting for some time. It would fit very well with his desire to keep Mongolia (and himself) in the mind of the international community and with all of his initiatives on the international stage. Some time ago, it would’ve seemed that his chances at a UN position would have been good. The Secretary General route always seemed like a very remote chance, but head of a UN mission? Or head of some other international organization like the Community of Democracies? Those kind of positions would seem to suit him very well. It should also be noted that if he were appointed into some position like that, it would suit Mongolia well, as he will continue to give the country some prominence in international affairs.

What are his chances? Who knows! There are so many political traps involved with many of those appointments that it’s difficult to say in the abstract. But consider Mongolia’s and thus Elbegdorj’s credentials as democratic, somewhat neutral and certainly non-threatening, hopeful in terms of economic/social development (despite the current woes) and you’d have to guess that the opportunity for an international appointment does exist.

The other subject of speculation is whether Elbegdorj will try to “do a Putin”, i.e. promote a caretaker for himself to then run for office again at the next opportunity, i.e. the 2020 parliamentary or 2021 presidential election. His long-time chief of staff, Tsagaan, has been mentioned in this context. There was some plausibility to this speculation up until the election. Now, the DP’s chances in the presidential election seem quite remote, so it seems unlikely that Elbegdorj would have a chance to “appoint” his successor.

Presidential Election

Next year’s presidential election may be a moment when we will see some suggestions as to which direction the DP might turn.

Until recently, Bat-Uul certainly would have seemed like an obvious candidate for the presidency. Another long-time democracy partisan his role as mayor of Ulaanbaatar has been quite prominent and despite some of the grumbles about corruption, etc., generally I thought he was perceived as a reasonably successful mayor. The election results in June belie this sense, of course, as the DP got thrown out of city politics just as much as they did out of the Ikh Khural. Did that kill Bat-Uul’s chances at nomination? Perhaps, especially since they were already small due to his ambivalent role within the party. But who else?

Enkhbold Z clearly harboured presidential ambitions and some of his politicking during the last two years of the DP government made it seem like he was angling for the party’s nomination. But it never seemed like he was particularly popular as an individual. The direct election of the president does require some level of personal popularity.

A younger candidate would obviously make a statement! But who? It does not seem like the DP or any of its faction or party leaders have really groomed a new generation of leaders. Yet, if the MPP nominates M Enkhbold – as seems very likely, see his staying aloof from the government despite his role as party leader – his lack of charisma and profile would seem to leave the door open for a younger/new candidate that could attract some of the voters who had been frustrated previously, but might not have intended to give the MPP full control of all politics for some years.

More Thoughts to Come

I will continue this consideration of the future of the DP in a future post and will focus that on three more central questions, what about democratization?, what about policy?, what about corruption? and will consider other challenges to the future of the DP as well.

Posted in Democratic Party, Foreign Policy, Ikh Khural 2016, Inequality, Party Politics, Policy, Politics, Presidential 2017, Public Policy, Ulaanbaatar | Tagged | Leave a comment

Navigating by Fibreoptic Cable

[Somehow this post got stuck in the drafts folder on the blog dashboard in July 2013 and lingered there for quite some time until I found it again in summer 2016.]

Pardon the very general and somewhat cranky, er, excursion here…

Solar-Powered Pedestrian Map in Ulaanbaatar

Anyone who has visited Mongolia more than once can tell many stories of the massive changes that are happening in the country. Visitors or residents who remain in Ulaanbaatar tell numerous stories about the amazing transformation sthat occur every summer during the construction season. As a recent visitor I might point to the beautification of Ulaanbaatar as a project that began in earnest two or three years ago, but that is obviously being attacked with great energy by Mayor Bat-Uul.

There are now actual sidewalks in the city and plots of greenery that are turning into attractive urban parks. Hosting the ministerial meeting of the Community of Democrarcies in April 2013 obviously lent further impetus to this project as public garbage cans now separate trash from recyclables. Pedestrian crosswalks are not only indicated by road signs, but are occasionally actually observed by pedestrians as well as motorists. Amazing!

Unfortunately, there is still too little research that is capturing these changes in the city or elsewhere. We might think of a highly theoretical engagement with modernity in a Mongolian urban context, but also of the much more detailed documentation of the transformation of the daily life of Mongolians in the city as well as the country. Little of this kind of research is being conducted in an empirical manner by Mongolians as well, and it remains to be seen whether the planned program to support Mongolian Studies abroad will move beyond the traditional philological orientation of Mongolists to focus more on contemporary challenges.

Changing Navigational Tools

Now to more concrete topics…

Overland voyages are certainly an interesting experience in Mongolia. The network of paved roads remains limited and many of the most attractive destinations or many of the necessary trips still involve dirt-roads and off-road travel. Few foreigners take these challenges on on their own.

But, the interaction with drivers and translators around road navigation can often be frustrating. Once you leave the major paved roads there are no road signs. In fact, it sometimes seems as if there is a nation-wide government decree that is better-enforced than many laws that forbids road signs to point to destinations.

Which road to take around Khkukh Nuur? [Khentii, June 2013, photo by Marc Tassé]

As a consequence, all voyages involve optimistic morning-time estimates of, “Oh, we should be there in the morning!”, lunch-time puzzlement at the lack of progress, and late-afternoon concerns about reaching destinations, ger camps, and dinner.

For some reasons, there is also a country-wide conspiracy against GPS technology. Oddly for a land that employs fingerprint readers to verify voters’ identity and counts votes through electronic counting machines, GPS devices are shunned. Some claim that maps are unavailable, but even if that is the case (anyone?), knowledge of one’s location would at least allow for decisions about whether to follow the first or the second valley that presents itself as an option en route.

Yet, at the same time, a surprising navigational tool seems to have, er, taken root in the countryside. For some years now, the government has been laying fibreoptic cable to all sum centres in the country to guarantee internect connectivity and mobile phone network access. Typically, this cable is laid at a fairly shallow depth by small backhoes. Whether this construction actually involves more serious mapping efforts or simply follows existing routes, perhaps on the advice of locals, the lengthy mole hill that is created over the cable now shows direct routes between sum centres. If you come across such a mole hill, it will certainly lead you to a sum and ultimately an aimag centre.

It would be nice, of course, if these mole hills were decorated with directional signs, but it is often relatively clear from the rough direction which sum centre the cable might lead to.

As a navigation aide, the cable mole hill appears to be rapidly replacing power lines which previously served as signposts for overland travel to non-locals. Power lines always had the distinct disadvantage that they seem to have been built as the crow flys, or at least with scant regard for the drivability of the route. By contrast, the small backhoes that have been laying fibreoptic cable have preferred flat spaces that lend themselves to driving between sum centres.

If my observation of this use of the cable mole hill is correct, who would have thought that the laying of fibreoptic cable would transform countryside driving not through making information flows possible, but by hinting at a direct route between towns. As more and more Mongolians in the country are relying on cars, such navigational markers may become more and more important. It is unclear whether mole hills will lead to directional signs or will simply erode, in the meantime, trips between sum centres are becoming more direct. Landscapes are still gorgeous and the Autobahn isn’t about to arrive in the countryside, but some of the adventure and enforced relaxation may be waning.

Posted in Countryside, Nomadism, Social Issues, Tourism | Tagged | Leave a comment

Erdenebat Cabinet

By Bulgan B & Julian Dierkes

Contrary to usual practice to wait to form a new government after a June election until September, the newly-elected Mongolian parliament met in July already to elect a Prime Minister and a cabinet.

Given the resounding MPP victory in the election, it came as no surprise that MPP leader M Enkhbold pushed for an MPP majority government.

The government is led by J Enkhbat as Prime Minister while Enkhbold has been elected speaker of the State Great Khural, perhaps a position to launch a bid for presidency from next year. It thus seems fair to assume that Enkhbold and other MPP officials have considerable authority over the prime ministers and other members of cabinet.

The Erdenebat cabinet has 16 ministers and 13 ministries. Seven ministers were appointed from outside of parliament and nine ministers are MPs (double deel). Only two members of cabinet are women.

Prime Minister (Монгол Улсын Ерөнхий Сайд): J Erdenebat
Trade and Industry Institute, Academy of Administration, Mongolian Univ of Agriculture
MP 2012-present
Governor of Selenge Aimag 2008-12
Head of the Finance and State Fund Department, Office of the Selenge aimag 2005-2008
Deputy Governor of Selenge Aimag from 2004-2005
Head of the Finance and Economic Policy Coordination Department, Office of Selenge Aimag 2000-2004
Accountant of “Suutei” LLC in Mandal Soum, Selenge aimag 1996-1997

Cabinet Secretary (Хэрэг эрхлэх газрын дарга): MP J Munkhbat (General Secretary of MPP)
Born 1979
National University of Mongolia – political science
Mongolian People’s Party General Secretary 2013-2016
Editor-in-Chief of  “Mongolyn Unen” newspaper  2011-2013
Deputy chairman of the Standing committee on Political Policy of the Mongolian People’s Party 2010-2013
President of the Mongolian Young Generations’ Development Association 2008-2010
Secretary General of the Social Democratic Mongolian Youth Association 2005-2007

Deputy Prime Minister (Шадар сайд): U Khurelsukh (MPP)
Born 1968
Defense University of Mongolia (Political Science), Institute of Public Administration and Development (Public Administration), National University of Mongolia (Law)
Deputy Prime Minister 2014-2015
MPP Gen Secretary 2008-2012
Member of Parliament 2000-2008
Minister of National Emergency Agency 2004-06
Minister in charge of Professional Inspections 2006-08

Minister of Justice and Interior Affairs (Хууль зүй дотоод хэргийн сайд): MP S Byambatsogt (former MPP Caucus Leader)
Institute of Economy and Finance and MBA, University of Maastricht in Holland
Member of Parliament 2008-present
President of the “New Progress” Group 2008
Chairman of the Board of Directors of “New Progress” Group 2006-2008
Director of “New Progress” LLC 2000-2006General Director of “Khovdiin Urguu” LLC 1998-2000

Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports (Боловсрол, соёл шинжлэх ухаан, спортын сайд): J Batsuuri
Construction engineer and economist from University in Bratislava and PhD in Economy from Czech Technical University
Member of Parliament 2008-Present
Governor of Dornogovi Aimag 2000-2008
General Director “Us Orchin” LLC 1998-2000
PhD Professor at Czech technical university 1994-1998
Deputy Director of Information Technology School of Technical University 1992-1994
Professor at the Technical University 1987-1992
Professor at Polytechnic Institute and 1983-1987

Minister of Defense (Батлан хамгаалахын сайд): MP B Bat-Erdene (former national wrestling champion)
Graduated with a degree in law from the Military University in 1990
Member of Parliament 2004-Present
Director of “Avraga” Institute of Kinesiology 1999-2004
Sportsman, Deputy director and Director of “Khuch” sports society 1983-2010

Minister of Environment and Tourism (Байгаль орчин, аялал жуулчлалын сайд): MP D Oyunkhorol
Born 1963
Mongolian State Univ of Education, National University of Mongolia (Law)
English, Russian
MP 2000-04, 2008-present
Minister of Environment, Green Development, and Tourism 2014-2015

Minister of Foreign Relations (Гадаад харилцааны сайд): MP Ts Munkh-Orgil
Born 1964
Bachelor degree from Russia in International Relations and LLM, Harvard University
Secretary General of the Mongolian People’s Party 2012-2013
Member of Parliament 2004-2012 (Minister of Foreign Affairs 2004-2006 and Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs 2007-2008)
Deputy Minister of the Justice and Internal Affairs 2000-2004
Executive director of “Munkh-Orgil, Idesh, Lynch” LLC 1997-2000
Lawyer in Washington US 1996 – 1997
Third and Second Secretary of Mongolian Permanent Mission of UN 1991-1995
Foreign Ministry Attache 1988-1991

Minister of Finance (Сангийн сайд): MP B Choijilsuren
Graduated with a degree in automation and tele-mechanics from the Urals Higher Polytechnic
Member of Parliament 2008-Present
Deputy Head of the Office of the President 2005
Director of Khurd, Khurd Food, Khurd Invest companies 1995-2005
Director of KAMAN company 1993-1995

Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry (Уул уурхай, хүнд үйлдвэрийн сайд): Ts Dashdorj (former MP)
Drilling technology and engineer degree from the Polytechnic Institute 1990
Member of Parliament 2000-2004; 2008-2012; 2012 to Present
Deputy Minister of Construction and Urban Development 2004-2008
General Direcgtor of “Ikh Temuulel” LLC 1995-2000
Drilling Engineer “Gazriin Tos” LLC 1990-1993

Minister of Labor and Social Protection (Хөдөлмөр, нийгмийн хамгааллын сайд): MP N Nomtoibayar
Graduated from the Valparaiso University of Indiana, USA with the degree in political science and practice business
Member of Parliament 2012 – Present Deputy Minister of Social Protection and Labour 2012
Vice President of Mongolyn Alt LLC 2010-2012
Board of Directors of the Mongolian Economic Research and Competitiveness Center 2010
Central Intelligence Agency 2008-2009
Project manager at Mongolyn Alt LLC 2005-2008
Central Intelligence Authority 2001-2005

Minister of Roads and Transport (Зам, тээврийн хөгжлийн сайд): D Ganbat (CEO of Mongolian Railways)
Graduates as an engineer, mechanics, translation and law from the Military Engineering Institute, ВГЧУ, National University of Mongolia
Member of Parliament 2012 – Present
General Director of “Technic Import” LLC 2004-2012
Chairman of the Boards of Directors of “Technik Import” LLC 1999-2004
Director of the Historical and Cultural Artifact Restoration Authority 1996-1999
Deputy Director of the Russia Mongolia joint “Bayanbulag” LLC 1989-1992

Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry (Хүнс, хөдөө аж ахуй, хөнгөн үйлдвэрийн сайд): P Sergelen (Noyon Suld Group)
Graduated form State University of Pedagogy and Institute of Economy and Finance
General Director of “Buudain Khur” LLC 2010-2014
Director of “Noyon Suld” LLC 1995-2009

Minister of Construction and Urban Development (Барилга, хот байгуулалтын яам): G Munkhbayar

Minister of Energy (Эрчим хүчний сайд): P Gankhuu
Professor at the Institute of Society and Economy 1997
Project advisor to the NUM
Deputy head of the Energy Authority 2009-2012
Senior specialist at the Ministry of Fuel and Energy 2004-2009
Specialist at the Ministry of Infrastructure 2002-2004

Minister of Health (Эрүүл мэндийн сайд): A Tsogtsetseg
Graduated the Medical University and Academy of Management
Director of the Venereal Disease Research Center of Mongolia 2003-2016
Head of Department at the Venereal Disease Research Center of Mongolia 1988-2003
Doctor at the Venereal Disease Research Center of Mongolia 1986-1988

Posted in Ikh Khural 2016, Mongolian People's Party, Politics, Public Policy, Public Service | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Years of Mongolia Focus

By Julian Dierkes

We posted our first blog on July 29, 2011.

The idea to blog grew out of discussions that Mendee, Byamba and I were having almost every day at the office. Social developments in Mongolia, current politics, curious aspects of comparisons, etc., these were all discussions we were having. At some point, we decided that there were not enough discussions of this kind that connected different centres of interest in Mongolia around the world.

At first we were speaking primarily to ourselves, though now accessible to others in our thinking.

As we kept writing, and we haven’t missed a month yet. Later on, Brandon Miliate and Bulgan joined our efforts and several guest authors have also contributed posts.

We’ve published a total of 403 posts.

The most read post has been “Corruption in Mongolia according to Transparency International“. It has been read nearly 1,500 times.

We’ve covered a great variety of topics, captured somewhat by this recent tagcloud.

Over these past five years, a total of 79,000 readers have visited our pages. The top ten locations of our readers are: Mongolia (23%), U.S. (20%), Canada (14%), UK (5%), Australia (5%), Germany (3%), Japan (3%), China (2%), South Korea (2%), India (2%).

Interest in the blog obviously parallels broader interest in Mongolia and thus spikes in particular around national elections.

Posted in Research on Mongolia, Social Media | Tagged | 2 Comments

Did (Any of) My Saikhanbileg Wishes Come True?

By Julian Dierkes

In December 2014 when the first Saikhanbileg cabinet had been formed, I wrote a personal wishlist of actions I was hoping that cabinet might take.

J Erdenebat was the finance minister in that cabinet. All the more reason to revisit that wishlist now that the election has passed and  Erdenebat’s MPP government is forming.

My Wishes Two Years Ago

Below are the topics I focused on in my 2014 wishlist and a quick sense if any of my wishes came trie.

The Economy
Well, OT is back on track. Underground construction is under way and production from the underground part of the mine should rev up in the early 2020s

The economy? Not so much.

Clearly, economic worries have been on top of Mongolians’ minds as polls this Spring showed. And, for good reason. Unemployment, poverty, inflation, all these are challenges that persist. They have also led to a huge public debt (mostly papered over through Chinese bridge loans) which severely curtail Erdenebat government’s space to manoeuvre or to consider policies that are in any way costly.

No, the grand coalition of the early Saikhanbileg primeministership did not lead to a bi-partisan attempt to actually address corruption.

Public Service
No, public service organization did not improve. There were no significant legislative initiatives in this regard, and the DP’s attempts to replace virtually everyone in public service with a patronage, i.e. DP appointment continued unabated.

Higher Education
No, there was no significant action on higher education.

Long-term Risky Research for Diversification
Diversification remains a topic that shows up frequently in economic discussions, it also showed up in the recent election campaign. But, has there been strategic progress in this regard? Not that I can see.

Policy-Making Capacity
No big movement on this topic either. In fact, the election campaign with its lack of clearly identifiable policy differences between the parties illustrated the lack of focus on policy and evidence to determine policy.

A Role for “Repats”
The flurry of initial interest in the XUN party (yes, aware of the redundancy of “XUN party” since the “N” already stands for HAM=party), was also a flurry of mobilization by repats. Yet, the party got derailed, and many repats and other younger professionals seemed very frustrated by the limited choices in a two-horse race.

Support for Aimag Centres
Nothing of the sort.

Nurturing Democracy
This does seem the one element of DP rhetoric that has been pursued most consistently, though perhaps more by Pres Elbegdorj than PM Saikhanbileg.

Initiatives such as the devolution of decision-making to the local level and to citizens’ halls continue, though seemingly in a fairly unsystematic manner.

Nurturing Democracy as Foreign Policy
This certainly has been one of the successes were the DP has been able to build on long-standing policy, like the Third Neighbour Policy and amplify that for Mongolia to continue to have a visibility on the global stage much beyond its (population) size or economic significance in the world.

Posted in Corruption, Democracy, Democratic Party, Education, Foreign Policy, Ikh Khural 2016, Mining, Party Politics, Policy, Policy, Politics, Public Policy, Public Service | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cabinet Appointment: Dumbledorj for Foreign Minister

By Julian Dierkes

Things are moving very fast with the new MPP government, it seems like now is the time to make my pitch for a cabinet appointment…

Beware of a feeble attempt at humour…

This is the newsflash I’m hoping to see soon:



New Mongolian government to appoint Dumbledorj J (Дамбалдорж) as Foreign Minister (Гадаадын Сайд). This comes as a surprise as the position of Foreign Minister is a new one and it has not been announced how Dumbledorj is likely to collaborate/share duties/divide tasks with the Minister of Foreign Relations (Гадаад харилцааны сайд), presumably a Mongolian appointee.


What would my qualifications be?

At least, Dumbledorj is an Expert

This particular Dumbledorj has been visiting Mongolia for over ten years and gets a funny look at Chinggis Khaan International airport because of all the Mongolia stamps he has in his passport. Yet, he is not affiliated directly with an commercial interests or foreign government.

He has written about Mongolian foreign affairs regularly, not just on this blog, but also in The Diplomat, East Asian Forum, and various other newspapers and magazines. He is particularly interest in Mongolian digital diplomacy and thrilled that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has re-tweeted his missives several times.

No double deel!

Dumbledorj likes wearing a deel (though on very rare occasions), but he has no ambitions to wear two deels at once, nor is he planning to run for the State Great Khural any time soon.

Definitely Foreign

To attain the title of “Foreign Minister”, Dumbledorj can confidently claim that he is foreign!

Dumbledorj in Cabinet

Dumbledorj’ Mongolian understanding is passable, but not so good that he catches jokes, even jokes about him. His presence in parliament might just be a productive addition by giving other ministers an opportunity to tell jokes about a fellow minister (or about MP Javkhlan, see below) without having to append ““.

Dumbledorj in the Public

Dumbledorj is quite tall, of course. This means that he is always placed in the last row of all photographs so he is not likely to overshadow any other members of cabinet or other officials. He also takes terrible photos and tends to strike awkward poses, so he will make his colleagues look better quite naturally.

Building Relations with the Opposition

Dumbledorj is a big fan of Javkhlan’s singing. He will be delighted to attempt to make friends with Javkhlan in parliament and thus build links with the opposition.

Support my Campaign

Tweet using #ДамбалдоржГадаадынСайд

Posted in Curios, Ikh Khural 2016 | Tagged | 1 Comment

Guest Post: Questions about Purchase of Erdenet Mining

Note: I am unable to corroborate what Lkhagva is reporting here, but a) I know him to be a committed investigative journalist, and b) this is a potentially important story given the significance of the Erdenet mine to Mongolia, not just its economy, but also its identity.  – Julian Dierkes

By Lkhagva Erdene

Mongolian Ruling Party Questions the Legality of Hush Mine Deal with Russia

Investigation and debate by MongolTV journalist shed new light on a secret US$400 million deal involving two of the biggest state owned mines in the country.

The announcement

On June 28th, day before the country goes to vote Prime Minister of Mongolia Chimed Saikhanbileg announced the transaction of Russian shares of the largest copper and molybdenum mine to a Mongolian company called Mongolian Copper Corporation.

“I am announcing today that the Erdenet Mining Corporation is under 100% Mongolian ownership. Mongolian company now owns the 49 percent share once belonged to Rostec, Russian SOE. I would like to highlight the decision was concluded at the highest level or Russian government.”,

After the announcement, political party Mongolian People’s Revolutionary party which holds 3 seat in current cabinet strongly condemn the sale while main opposition Mongolian People’s Party issued an statement calling the sale illegal. MP Su Batbold delivered the statement “The share belongs to the Mongolian people. This deal is given to an unknown company that was only incorporated two years ago called Mongolian Copper Corporation run by an executive who is only 28 years old. No action can justify this deal.”

June 29th – Election Day

Mongolian voters went to the polls giving landslide victory to Mongolian People’s Party with 65 seats out of 76 seats.

June 30th – Rostec confirms the sale

Rostec issued a press release confirming the sale of the shares hailing the “beneficial market conditions for both the Russian and Mongolian sides”

“At the root of the sale of 49% of shares in Erdenet Mining Corporation LLC is a studied approach to managing its mining companies and implementing an individual approach with respect to different assets in accordance with Rostec’s strategic benchmarks. The sale of 49% of shares in Erdenet Mining Corporation LLC and Mongolrostsvetmet LLC is Rostec’s largest deal in the real economy, as a result of which the corporation’s budget received its largest ever single cash input…” said Rostec’s CEO Sergei Chemezov

Mongolian Copper Corporation (

Before the PM’s announcement Mongolian business and political circle has unheard of the Mongolian Copper Corporation. The company is “fully owned by a consortium of leading Mongolian companies” according to the press release by Rostec.

The official address on the company website “Suite 401” at the Blue Sky Tower was occupied by National News Corporation and BloombergTV Mongolia staff. Staff had no knowledge of such corporation.

BloombergTV Mongolia is owned by TDB Media LLC subsidiary of Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia

Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia helped advise and finance the mine deal according to the CEO of the bank Onon Orkhon.

Mongolian Copper Corporation is wholly owned by a Mongolian citizen named Purevtuvshin. The deal was concluded at US 400 million. 200 million was financed by the corporation and 200 million was a credit from Trade and Development Bank to Mongolian Copper Corporation said Orkhon during the live TV panel organized by MongolTV. The deal was highly secretive given the (geo)political situation, Orkhon added.

The debate – July 4th – Hush deal and uninformed public

MongolTV called for panel debate on the mine sale asking relevant decision makers, bankers close to the deal and lawyers into a popular debate show titled “Nuudel Shiidel”. Prior to the debate an online poll showed 80 percent of the public had no information of the state owned mine share to MCC. /1900 people took the poll as of 12:10pm of July 5th/

Ministry of Finance sources told MongolTV the announcement came as surprise to relevant government officials within the ministry. Erdenebileg Erdenejamiyan, Deputy Leader of Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party confirmed the account citing cabinet members from his party enquired about the mine sale from the PM only to be ignored by the cabinet leader. Erdenejamiyan served as Deputy Justice Minister in the previous cabinet.

Debate shed new light on the details of the deal raising more concerns of the legality of the deal.

“According to Mongolian law on strategic mines (Erdenet mine is listed 11th on the strategic mine list) parliament has to approve the sale of stake in the mine” said Oyunsaikhan Altangerel lawyer, defense attorney who previously worked for the Justice Ministry of Mongolia.

“The main question is why Russia is exiting Mongolian market shying away from their strategic interest. I am more interested in that context rather than looking at this as a business deal.” Member of Parliament former Defense Minister of Mongolia Jadamba Enkhbayar

Government approval

Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa independent journalist shared new information on cabinet approval from Mongolian government letter dated June 13th sent from Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirming the sale by declining the Rostec initial offer to government of Mongolia. “Russian government Medvedev agreed to the sale only if cabinet approval from the Mongolian counterpart on June 2nd on government website.”

Jadamba Enkhbayar who’s party now represents super majority in Mongolian Parliament asked for parliamentary probe and hearing into this deal by concluding “The Mongolian people voted for our party to investigative and return the public asset. We will have to deliver. That is what we promised.”

Will the Mongolian government change their decision with the new parliament swearing-in today? Will the deal taint a longstanding relationship between the two countries? Feel free to weigh in on the discussion or add your input to

About Lkhagva E

Lkhagva Erdene is an investigative journalist based in Mongolia. He is the executive producer of news at MongolTV, commercial broadcaster in Mongolia. He is currently working on the Panama Papers leak with The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

You can watch the full debate in Mongolian from MongolTV Youtube Channel







Posted in Erdenet, Ikh Khural 2016, Lkhagva Erdene, Mining, Mining Governance, Russia | Tagged | Leave a comment

Not a Social Media Election

By Julian Dierkes

I was surprised that the election campaign for the June 29 election did not unfold on social media more. Yes, there was some activity, but I did not see any clever or comprehensive campaigns by candidates or parties, nor was there all that much action from voters.

Why Might One Expect a Social Media Election?

Data on social media usage is always a bit tricky and rarely up-to-date, but basic telephony and computer access data for Mongolia is available through the UN’s International Telecommunications’ Union, for example. In the ITU’s 2015 ICT Development Index, some of the data included suggests widespread use of mobiles that anyone who has travelled to or lives in Mongolia could certainly confirm. For example, for 100 Mongolians, there are 105 cell phone contracts. 29% of households have access to the internet, according to these statistics.

That confirms the more anecdotal impression of wide-spread use of mobiles, increasingly smartphones as well, and of computers. Mongolians also continue to be very active on social media. While Twitter has been very popular for some years, Facebook seems to have surpassed it recently.

Given the potential for multiplication of political messages via social media, I was expecting a very active election campaign online this year. I was looking for URLs and Facebook/Twitter/userids to be prominent in campaign materials, and for coordinated campaigns in social media via hashtags and the strategic sharing of posts.


My overall impression is that not nearly as many of these kind of activities happened as I was expecting.

MPs on Twitter

But, obviously, my impression is quite limited. It is based primarily on Twitter rather than Facebook. My children keep reminding me that “Twitter is for old people”. That’s why I use it, but many Mongolian politicians seem to agree with me in that. 41 members of the incoming State Great Khural are on Twitter. With a parliament of 76 members that’s not quite universal adoption, and not all of the 41 accounts I identified are particularly active, but still, it does seem that even if Twitter is less of the go-to social medium that it might have been some few years ago in Mongolia, it is still relevant.

Facebook and other Platforms

I have been told that Facebook discussions around the election were quite active. While I am on FB myself, I really don’t use it very much for professional purposes, in part because the search function does not seem to work well for such purposes, and because hashtagging or some other form of organization has never really taken off. I did not take a closer look at other rising social media like SnapChat. A search for the hashtag #Сонгууль2016 does produce a number of posts on Instagram, including many where voters have recorded their voting “receipt”, but not much in terms of a campaign that I can identify.


I was also quite surprised not to see more posting on the election night. GIFs were noticeably absent from Twitter as well, though I made a clumsy attempt at humour:


From photos that others sent me, I could not spot a single billboard or campaign poster that listed a website or social media userid. It seems that the election law did not specifically prohibit such pointers to social media sites and channels. 

See the small forest of election posters in the photo below. Not a single one seems to offer a link to social media or a website.

Lack of Campaigning

I was surprised that neither parties nor candidates seem to develop strategic campaigns that focused on slogans, particular issues, or anything like that really. I did not see any strategic hashtags that would lend themselves to engage voters on specific topics, nor any attempts to use graphics to increase engagement. The parties in particular did not seem to see strategic value in coordinating any activities on social media.

Why, given Mongolians’ participation in social media?

First of all, Mongolian political operatives are not alone in not realizing the potential that social media hold for engagement of citizens. This is certainly a common theme for analyses of “digital diplomacy” efforts where the number of channels appears to be proliferating, but the messages are primarily intended for broadcast, rather than engagement.

Secondly, past campaigns in Mongolia have also not suggested strong coordination within parties to observers. One of the challenges remain that most candidates seem themselves as a campaign on to themselves. This was very obviously the case in the 2008 election where multiple members from the same party were competing in the same constituency, but even in 2012 with its portion of seat to be won by proportional representation, central party campaigns were limited. With the return to majoritarian voting in this election, perhaps the incentives have skewed away from party campaign efforts again.

Reporting on Campaign

While I didn’t see much use of social media by the parties, the media were more active this time and seemed better prepared for the election evening and the arrival of results as well.

Some media organizations clearly dedicated some resources to the production of graphics and dedicated websites, etc. Here’s an example of some of the visually-attractive, but also informative graphics that came out.

Posted in Elections, Ikh Khural 2016, Politics, Social Media | Tagged | Leave a comment

Зочны булан:Монгол улсын 2016 оны УИХ-ын сонгуулийн мөрийн хөтөлбөрт буй уул уухайн зорилтуудын тухай

Др. А. Энхбат

Монгол улсын Их хурлын сонгуулийн санал хураалт 2016.06.29-нд болно. Энэ удаагийн сонгуульд 13 нам, 3 эвсэл өрсөлдөж байна. Эдгээрээс УИХ-ын сонгуульд 39 дээш нэр дэвшигч буюу засгийн газар байгуулах хэмжээнд өрсөлдөж буй МАН, АН, МАХН, “Тусгаар тогтнол, эв нэгдэл” эсвэл гэсэн дөрвөн улс төрийн хүчний Монгол улсын Үндэсний аудитын газраар хянуулж, дүгнэлт гаргуулан Монгол улсын сонгуулийн ерөнхий хороонд хүргүүлсэн, Монгол улсын сонгуулийн ерөнхий хорооны албан ёсны вэб хуудаст тавигдсан мөрийн хөтөлбөрт товч дүгнэлт хийлээ.

МАХН-ын хувьд мөрийн хөтөлбөртөө уул уурхайн салбарын хөгжил, бодлогын талаар тусгагдаагүй. Харин мөрийн хөтөлбөрийн эхлэл болох зорилго хэсэгт Монгол орны байгалийн баялаг нь ард олны аз жаргалтай амьдралын үндэс болох талаар тунхагийн шинжтэй ганц заалт оруулжээ.Харин “Тусгаар тогтнол, эв нэгдэл” эвсэл мөрийн хөтөлбөртөө уул уурхай, металлургийн цогцолбор байгуулах, Стратегийн ач холбогдол бүхий орд газруудыг төрийн өмчид хамааруулах, Оюутолгойн гэрээг шударгаар хянах, Таван толгойн ордыг ард түмний өмчид хэвээр үлдээх, байгаль орчныг “бохирдуулагч нь төлөгч”, “ашиглагч нь хамгаалагч” байх үзэл санааг хэрэгжүүлнэ гэх зэрэг тун ерөнхий зорилтууд дэвшүүлжээ.

Харин улс төрийн хамгийн том хоёр хүчин МАН, АН өөрсдийн мөрийн хөтөлбөртөө уул уурхайн салбарын хөгжил, бодлогын талаар тусгайлан дэлгэрэнгүй зорилтуудыг дэвшүүлжээ. МАН мөрийн хөтөлбөрийнхөө 2. Эдийн засгийн бодлого гэх хоёр дугаар бүлгийнхээ 2.4 Уул уурхайн хөгжил гэх зүйлээ, АН мөрийн хөтөлбөрийнхөө Уул уурхай гэсэн гурав дахь бүлгээ уул уурхайд зориулжээ.

МАН-ын хувьд уул уурхайн өнөөгийн байдлыг хөрөнгө оруулалт 4 дахин буурсан гэж дүгнээд, шийдлээ дэвшүүлсэн байна. Харин АН уул уурхайн салбараас олох экспортын орлогыг тогтвортой, өсөлттэй байх зорилт дэвшүүлжээ. Ингээд хоёр намын мөрийн хөтөлбөрт дэвшүүлж буй ялгаатай болон үндсэн зорилтуудыг түүж хүснэгтээр харуулья.


2.4.1 Байгалийн баялгийг боловсруулан нэмүү өртөг шингэсэн эцсийн бүтээгдхүүн болгон дэлхийн зах зээлд гаргах, дэлхийн нэр хүндтэй томоохон компаниудыг урьж ажиллуулах эдийн засаг, эрх зүйн нэн тааламжтай орчин бүрдүүлнэ.

2.4.5Төрийн өмчит “Эрдэнэс Монгол” компанийн үйл ажиллагааг сайжруулж, Оюутолгой, Тавантолгой, Эрдэнэт зэрэг томоохон компаниудын үр ашгийг иргэн бүрт хүртээмжтэй байлгах бололцоог бүрдүүлнэ.

2.4.7 Уул уурхайн олборлолтын төсөлд төрийн оролцоог зохистой байлгаж, татвар болон ашигт малтмалын нөөц ашигласны төлбөр авах хэлбэрийг сонгох бодлого түлхүү баримтална.

2.4.8 “төрөөс эрдэс баялгийн салбарт баримтлах бодлого”-ын 3.1.2-т заасан иргэд бичил уурхайн салбарт хууль ёсны бүтцээр хоршиж ажиллах чиглэлийг хэрэгжүүлэх, холбогдох эрх зүйн зохицуулалтыг боловсронгуй болгоно.


·         Эрдэс баялгийн салбарын хүний нөөцийг хөгжүүлж, ажлын байрыг нэмэгдүүлэх

·         Стратегийн орд газрууд болох таван толгойн нүүрcний ордын хүчин чадал, Эрдэнэтийн зэс, молибденийн ордын нөөцийг тус тус нэмэгдүүлж, Асгатын мөнгө, Гацууртын алт, Цагаан суваргын зэсийн ордыг эргэлтэнд оруулж, Оюу толгойн далд уурхайн төсөл амжилттай хэрэгжихэд дэмжлэг үзүүлнэ.

·         Ашигт малтмалын тусгай зөвшөөрлийг орон нутгийн иргэдээс урьдчилан санал авсaны үндсэн дээр олгох, тусгай зөвшөөрөл олгох үйл ажиллагааны хяналт, бүртгэл, мэдээллийн санг ил тод нээлттэй болгоно.

·         Ашигт малтмалын үйлдвэрийн хаягдал боловсруулах, дэвшилтэт техник, технологи нэвтрүүлэхийг бодлогоор дэмжинэ.

·         Цөмийн хаягдалтай холбогдсон бүх үйл ажиллагааг Монгол Улсын нутаг дэвсгэрт хориглоно.

·         Газрын тосны шинэ орд илрүүлэх хайгуулын ажлыг эрчимжүүлнэ. Газрын тосны салбарт 2030 он хүртэл баримтлах бодлогыг боловсруулна. Газрын тосны олборлолтыг жилд 1.7 сая тоннд, экспортын орлогыг 500 тэрбум төгрөгт тус тус хүргэнэ.

·         Нүүрс баяжуулах үйлдвэрлэлийн үндэс суурийг тавина.

·         Хийн түлшний хэрэглээ, хадгалалт, тээвэрлэлт, борлуулалтад тавигдах стандарт, дүрмийг баталж, иргэдийн аюулгүй байдлыг хангана.


Хүснэгтээс үзвэл МАН уул уурхайн салбарт гадны хөрөнгө оруулалтыг нэмэгдүүлэх асуудлыг гол зорилтоо болгож, уул уурхайн орд, компаниуд дахь төрийн оролцоог зохистой байлгаж, татвар, ашигт малтмалын нөөц ашигласны төлбөр авах хэлбэрийг сонгохоо зарласан. АН-ын хувьд уул уурхайн салбарын хүний нөөц, техник, технологийн хөгжил, үйлдвэрлэлд гол анхаарал хандуулж цөмийн хаягдалтай холбогдох бүх үйл ажиллагааг хорих, газрын тосны үйлдвэрлэлийг хөгжил, хийн түлшний аюулгүй байдлыг сайжруулах зорилтууд дэвшүүлсэн нь харагдаж байна. Товчоор дүгнэвэл МАН гадны хөрөнгө оруулалтыг нэмэгдүүлэх орчинг бүрүүлэх, уул уурхай дахь төрийн оролцоог багасгах бодлого баримтлахаа зарлажээ. Харин АН-ын хувьд уул уурхайн салбарыг аж үйлдвэрлэлтэй холбож хөгжүүлэх зорилт тавьж, төрийн хяналтыг хүчтэй болгох бодлого дэвшүүлсэн байна.

Мөн уул уурхайн салбарын талаархи хоёр намын мөрийн хөтөлбөрт Тавантолгойн 1072 хувьцааг үнэ цэнтэй болгох, уул уурхайн орлогоос бүрдэх сан байгуулах, уурхайн нөхөн сэргээлт, хаалтыг сайжруулж ил тод, хариуцлагтай уурхайг хөгжүүлэх, иргэдийн оролцоог нэмэгдүүлэх, бичил уурхай болон алтны худалдан авалтын эрх зүйн орчинг сайжруулах, геологийн нэгдсэн мэдээлэлийн сан, судалгаа, зураглал хийх, эрдэс баялагын салбарын хөрөнгө оруулалтын таатай орчинг бий зэрэг ижил зорилтууд байна.

Үүнээс гадна хоёр намын мөрийн хөтөлбөр тус тусдаа уул уурхайн баялагт тулгуурлан аж үйлвэрлэл хөгжүүлэх, уул уурхайн баялагын боловсруулах зорилтуудыг дэвшүүлжээ. МАН тодорхой уурхайнуудыг нэр заан үйлдвэрлэл хөгжүүлэх, зориултуудаа дэвшүүлсэн бол АН илүү бүсчилсэн байдлаар уул уурхайн үйлдвэр, цогцолборуудаа байгуулах, хөгжүүлэх зорилт тавьжээ. Бас хоёр намын мөрийн хөтөлбөрт буй байгаль орчин тухай зорилтуудад уул уурхайн салбартай холбогдол асуудалууд тусгагджээ. МАН уул уурхайн нөхөн сэргээлтийг чухалчлан, үүнд иргэдийн оролцоог нэмэгдүүлэх зорилт дэвшүүлсэн бол АН ундны усыг хамгаалах, уул уурхайн усны хэрэглээг гадагшаа урсгалтай гол мөрнөөс нийлүүлэх зорилтыг тавьсан байна.

Үүнээс гадна АН мөрийн хөтөлбөрийнхөө эхэнд эдийн засгийн хүрээний үндсэн зорилтуудаа уул уурхайн олборлох салбарын хөгжилд тэргүүлэх ач холбогдол өгнө, мөн  мөрийн хөтөлбөрийн эрчим хүчний түлшний аюулгүйн нөөцийг бүрдүүлж, хангамжийг баталгаажуулах зорилтууддаа зарим уурхайнуудыг нэр заан хүчин чадлын нэмэгдүүлнэгэсэн байна.

Нам, эвсэлүүдийн мөрийн хөтөлбөрүүдэд ийнхүү уул уурхайн салбарын асуудал онцгой байр суурь эзлэж, Монгол улсын эдийн засгийн гол хөшүүрэг болж байгаа нь Монгол улсыг нэгэн уул уурхайн орон болсныг харуулж байна.

А. Энхбат. ШУТИС-ийн Хүмүүнлэгийн салбарын дэд профессор, доктор (Ph.D)


Posted in Democracy, Democratic Party, Elections, Enkhbat Avirmed, Mining, Mining, Mining Governance, Mongolia and ..., Mongolian People's Party, Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, Politics, Public Policy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Immediate Reactions to MPP Landslide

By Julian Dierkes

Wow, what a victory for the MPP. Certainly unexpected in this magnitude, but that’s what happens with first-past-the-post voting, i.e. a series of small and big victories in constituencies adds up to a HUGE victory in terms of seats in the State Great Khural, currently projected to be 65 MPP, 9 DP, 1 MPRP, 1 Independent.

That is not just a majority, but a super-duper-majority with 85% of the seats in parliament.


Election Proceedings

By all early accounts, the election seems to have run well, despite the very late switch to first-past-the-post. There have been no reports of major glitches and the results were reported very quickly. This was always meant to be an advantage of electronic counting, but given decisive margins in almost all races, this advantage was actually realized.

MPP Results

Everyone won. Well, almost, but obviously, there were only 11 candidates who didn’t. Party leader M Enkhbold certainly won.

DP Results

Everyone lost. Well, almost. Some of the DP grandees lost which is quite significant as this could serve as a potential catalyst for the rejuvenation of the DP.

Some of the most prominent politicians who went down in defeat:

  • UIX speaker Z Enhkbold
  • long-time thorn-in-everyones-side Kh Battulga
  • PM Ch Saikhanbileg
  • former PM N Altankhuyag
  • former MP and Min of Justice Kh Temuujin
  • etc., etc.


No major breakthroughs for any independents or smaller parties.

The one independent who has been elected is S Javkhlan. I am a big fan of his music, but he’s quite a nationalist. He’ll be easy to brand as a voice for “resource nationalism”, that foreign invention that almost all foreign analysts invoke when writing about Mongolia, but his election is about personal popularity and stardom, not a building movement, or any kind of ideology, I would argue.

Perhaps notable, S Ganbaatar, former independent MP was not elected either, blocking any thoughts of him running for president next year on the strength of his personal popularity.

When final results will be out, there will be more of a chance to see whether any independent candidates or small parties gained significant shares of the vote.

Note that the Civil Will Green Party has been eliminated from parliament with this election. Its two former MPs either chose not to run (long-time MP and former foreign minister and minister for green development, S Oyun) or defeated as a DP candidate (S Demberel).

Even the MPRP only gained one seat.


Currently, it looks like 13 women will be seated in the new parliament. That is a surprise as the decision not to run by some women, coupled with the dropping of the candidate quota from 30 to 20% suggested that there may be fewer women in parliament.

Voter Frustration

I had heard a lot about voter frustration in the last several days. While the turnout is low (no final figure yet), voters seemed to have made a very clear choice suggesting that their opposition to the DP (perhaps more than support for the MPP) overcame any apathy among voters.

Some of the analysis will have to wait until more turnout details are in and a better sense of the votes that have gone to independents also helps with that.


I had expected that Mongolia would be no different than most democracies, i.e. a bad economy spells trouble for governing parties. I didn’t expect the DP to be decimated, but that’s in part due to majoritarian voting rather than a landslide of national sentiment.

There is some speculation that the announcement of a sale of the Russian 49% stake in the Erdenet mine to the (Mongolian) Trade and Development Bank just a day before the vote, might have swayed voters, but it’s unclear to me why this would have swung sentiment toward the MPP or away from the DP.

I do also think that this result is a repudiation of most of the DP leadership. Many of these leaders were not re-elected and the DP thus suffers a result that is in part due to its internal divisions and inability to promote younger leaders into parliament or the public’s eye.


In all likelihood (and despite the looming ASEM meeting), the government will not be constituted until an initial session of the State Khural in September. For the duration of the summer, there will thus be an MPP-government-in-waiting.


Probably the most important implication of this victory is that whatever they decide to do, an MPP government will be relatively stable, particularly by comparison with the faction-ridden DP and the coalitions it had to be involved in.

The MPP’s majority is so sizeable and party discipline within the MPP more rigid that a stable government is to be expected. The parallel victory of the MPP in the Ulaanbaatar city elections (34 seats in city council to DP’s 11) reinforces this stability further.

That stability could be threatened somewhat by the presidential election next year, but the current result means that it is totally unclear who might emerge as DP candidates, or whom the MPP might field. Obviously, a DP president would put a check on the majority MPP government.

In terms of appointments, the MPP has been very careful to squash all speculation so beyond the assumption that M Enkhbold will be prime minister, there really isn’t a strong sense of whom they might appoint, and how many members of cabinet will be MPs.


The biggest question about the MPP majority government thus will be whether it decides to “take revenge” on the DP.

One part of this question pertains to the public service where the DP had engaged in a wholesale rotation of an astonishing number of officials. The purported recording of MPP leader Enkhbold discussing patronage appointments suggests that some of this rotation will occur again, but how low in the bureaucratic order will it go? Will the MPP restrain itself and target offices that are meant to be political appointments, say state secretaries, or will this once again mean that we will meet another whole new cast of people in ministries, government bodies, and education?

The second aspect of a potential revenge is the security apparatus. The DP had politicized the judicial system and anti-corruption efforts significantly, so it would not be surprising to see the MPP take over positions and now “go after” political opponents. I hope that instead, the new government will keep the interest of the country and of democracy in mind and not engage in this kind of revenge.


The MPP campaign did not suggest that any major policy changes are coming. Given the enormous public debt amassed by previous governments, the state budget doesn’t leave much room for any major initiatives. While there be some adjustments and ministerial appointments will determine some of these, I don’t foresee any major changes in foreign policy, economic development or social policy.

Posted in Democratic Party, Elections, Ikh Khural 2016, Mongolian People's Party | Tagged | 2 Comments

Early Projections: Landslide Victory for MPP

By Julian Dierkes

Preliminary results are all suggesting a landslide win for MPP, nay, complete rout of DP. Projections are suggesting a majority of over 60 seats for MPP with the DP held to around a dozen seats. Early returns are also suggesting that many DP grands are going down in defeat.

If these results hold, they obviously lead to four years of a MPP majority. Given the significant party discipline in the MPP (much more unified than the DP, even when factional disputes also arise), that suggests stability in the government over the coming four years.

The biggest question the MPP will have to address: will it choose to take “revenge” on the DP (especially on appointments to public service positions, an on the politicization of the security apparatus, and the courts), or will it restrain itself in the name of the good of the country?

Posted in Elections, Ikh Khural 2016, Mongolian People's Party, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment