By Julian Dierkes
[Byambajav Dalaibuyan, Naranzul Bayasgalan, and Mendee Jargalsaikhan all contributed to this post.]
The Ikh Khural (parliament) is the sole legislative body.
The President, the Government (usually the Prime Minister or a Deputy Prime Minister, but also Ministers who are MPs) and individual members of the Ikh Khural have the right to propose legislation.
Drafting of Laws
Within the government, the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs is responsible for drafting laws in collaboration with the relevant Ministry for a specific proposal of a law. The Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs collaborates with the ministry or ministries that cover portfolios that are potentially relevant to a draft law.
Even if a law is proposed by the President or an individual member of the Ikh Khural, the
Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs forms a working group to draft the law to be submitted to parliament. These working groups may solicit input from stakeholders (private, public, NGO).
Draft laws come in three varieties: a new law, an amendment of an existing law, a rewriting of an existing law.
Proposed Laws in Parliament
When a law is proposed to parliament (by the President, the government or an individual member), the person proposing the law must provide specific information improves the existing body of laws, citing the specific impact this law would have on all interested parties.
Once a law has been proposed formally to the Ikh Khural, the Speaker assigns this proposal to one of seven standing committees: security and foreign policy, environment and rural development, social policy, state organization, budgetary issues, legal issues, economic issues. Articles 19-25 of the Law of the Mongolian Parliament delineate the portfolios of these committees and their subcommittees and any ad hoc committees.
The 2006 Act on the State Great Khural Procedure suggests that if a draft law concerns public interest it should be discussed by a general session of the Ikh Khural. Furthermore, the Act opened up the possibility to publicize drafts in daily newspapers. After studying public comments, the relevant standing committee may organize hearings to involve testimony or statements from stakeholders and experts, though this is rarely done in practice.
Following any hearings or deliberations, the relevant standing committee will vote on whether to recommend a proposed law (as proposed, without amendments or changes) to be discussed by a plenary session of the Ikh Khural. If such a discussion is recommended, the standing committee designates one of its members to present the committee’s conclusions in this plenary session.
This recommendation is issued to the Speaker of the Ikh Khural who adds discussion of the draft law in a plenary session to parliament’s agenda. Discussions are prioritized by the Speaker in consultation with party leaders and individual members. The President and Prime Minister make announcements of their priorities that are taken into consideration by the Speaker in scheduling discussion at the opening of the parliamentary session in spring and fall.
In the plenary session, a proposed law is introduced by the sponsoring member who is then questioned by members of the Ikh Khural. Next, the Standing Committee reports on its deliberations in less than 15 minutes. Stakeholders may also be invited to speak on the proposed law. Finally, the law goes to a plenary vote. If the law passes without opposition, it is submitted for a final reading. If the law passes with substantial opposition, this opposition is documented.
In the preparation for final reading of the law, amendments can be offered, before it is transferred back to the relevant standing committee. Following its further deliberation, the standing committee passes the proposed law back to the original sponsor to be introduced in a final reading.
If the law is approved in final reading by a simple majority of the Members present, it is subsequently promulgated and published, unless vetoed by the President. The veto can be overridden by a ⅔ parliamentary majority.
If a draft law is not approved, it can be referred back to committee to prepare further readings of the law. These readings can span legislative sessions.
- Open Society Forum. 2004. “Making Laws in Mongolia”.
- Byambajav Dalaibuyan. 2007. “ NGOs’ Participation in the Policy Making Process in Mongolia”. Open Society Forum.
- Naranzul Bayasgalan. 2010. “Basic Decision-Making Theory: A Case Study on the Oyu Tolgoi Mine Project in Mongolia”. M.A. Thesis, University of British Columbia, Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Policy Studies.