Parties and Candidate Demography Update

By Julian Dierkes

The final list of 606 approved candidates was released at the beginning of the week and we, here at Mongolia Focus, are still processing the approval or lack thereof of certain candidates. The picture has changed a little from what we had written about previously, though more among the smaller parties and independents than any big changes for the main contenders, so here’s an update and some additional observations.

Parties, Coalitions and Districts

In the end, there are 13 parties and 4 coalitions with a total of 485 candidates.

Parties

Coalitions

In addition, 121 independents have been approved as candidates across 26 districts (no independent candidates in Govi-Altai, Sukhbaatar and Khentii.

Districts

Districts 1-18 are rural aimags across the country. District 19 and 20 include the urban areas of Darkhan and Erdenet, respectively, and districts 21-29 are Ulaanbaatar districts.

There are generally more candidates in the urban districts, ranging from district 21 (Ulaanbaatar’s outlying districts) with 14 candidates competing for 2 seats, to the downtown Ulaanbaatar district of Sukhbaatar where 38 candidates are vying for 3 seats.

For the aimag districts, the lowest number of candidates is competing in Govi-Altai (10 candidates for 2 seats), the highest in Selenge and Uvs where 23 candidates are competing for 3 seats each.

Districts thus range from 1 seat per 5 candidates to almost 1 seat per 13 candidates.

Candidate Demographics

The demographic factor that is most easily gleaned from various lists and announcements is gender. We are continuing to collect information on individual candidates and gender will certainly be part of that, but we don’t have enough information quite yet for more fine-grained analysis, so just some summary observations.

Keep in mind that for parties 20% of their candidates have to be women.

Here are the percentages female candidates for the 10 parties and coalitions that have more than 10 candidates:

Party Total Candidates Women Percentage
MPP 76 16 21%
DP 76 17 22%
Mongolian Green Party 15 5 33%
Freedom for People Party 13 3 23%
Demos Party 30 23 77%
People’s Majority Governance Party 24 7 29%
Our Coalition 74 17 23%
New Coalition 72 15 21%
Right Person Electorate 53 13 25%
Sahigtun! Coalition 34 10 29%

Clearly, the Demos Party is the outlier here. Marissa has already taken a closer look at this party.

Among the 121 independents there are 17 female candidates, just 14%. This low percentage among independent candidates could be interpreted to show how important the candidates’ quota for parties is in that their percentages of female candidates might as low as that for the independents in the absence of a quota.

Generations

Information on candidates’ ages will be even more laborious to collect and we are not entirely sure that we will be able to for all the 606 candidates. However, we have collected the year of birth for all of the MPP candidates, in part because they dominated the previous parliament and because the internecine struggle within the party between PM U Khurelsukh and former Speaker M Enkhbold has been framed in part at least around generational succession.

Given that the MPP candidates’ list is perceived to be a list of Khurelsukh’s candidates, the question arises, do the 76 candidates nominated by the MPP for the 2020 parliamentary election represent a generational change?

We have not “backfilled” data for the 76 MPP candidates in 2016 or the 22 MPP members who had originally been elected in 2016 but have not been nominated for the current election to compare the overall demographics between these groups.

However, the current group of 76 candidates are on average 48.75 years old (note that we have collected the year of birth for candidates, not their birthday and subtract this from 2020, so that this average figure overestimates the average age as some number around half of the MPs (assuming normal distribution across months of the year) will not have turned a new age this year yet). They breakdown across decade generations as follows: 1950s: 5, 60s: 20, 70s: 45, 80s: 6.

The 33 candidates who were not previously MPs are a bit younger than the overall group at 46.5 years and 27 of them were born after 1970.

While the number of younger candidates is bigger among the new candidates, these numbers do not immediately seem to signal a real generational shift as new candidates probably are typically younger than incumbents.

About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He tweets @jdierkes
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