Coalition Speculation

When I started thinking about the upcoming election and likely scenarios, I had initially excluded the possibility that either the DP or the MPP would join in a coalition with the MPRP. Maybe that was hasty…

As things are shaping up now on the eve of the election, a DP victory seems to be more and more likely, but the guesses around town fluctuate all the way from a straight majority (40+ seats) to a bare plurality (30+ seats). At the same time, predictions for the CWGP are not that optimistic with estimates ranging from a single seat to an upper limit of 5.

If these guesses are right (and given the quality of the polls available), guestimating is as good as it gets at the moment, coalition speculation is taking a different turn.

If CWGP as a possible and most likely preferred coalition partner is held to no more than 5 seats (remember, that is an upper limit, so optimistic scenario), the DP would need at least 35 seats which would be a significant victory.

That would leave the question of “grand coalition” with the MPP or, all of a sudden, a coalition with the MPRP. I had assume that the latter was out of the question even in Spring and even more so with events surrounding frm president Enkhbayar since then. [As an aside, the supreme court postponed a decision on Enkhbayar’s case against the General Election Commission on the rejection of his candidacy, making any decision on this matter impossible for tomorrow’s poll.] My assumption had been that MPRP was politically anathema to the DP and that there as too much bad blood between MPP and MPRP as well.

However, during our countryside trip to Tov Aimag, a DP campaign organizer in a private moment intimated that there are active discussions of a coalition with the MPRP. Her/his sense was that the MPRP could be satisfied with a single ministry and some kind of pardon (quietly, I assume) for Enkhbayar. This struck me as odd since I cannot believe that the DP’s voters would accept this kind of horse-trading/backroom dealing. But after I returned, I learned that well-known columnist, Baabar (Bat-Erdeniin Batbayar) had posted his version of election scenarios on-line. This post had appeared at but has since turned “404 File not Found”.

Here’s a rough English version [with many thanks to the anonymous, but trusted translator] of his “Scenario 4” (after a DP majority, a DP-CWGP coalition, and an MPP-MPRP coalition in likelihood):

Scenario 4 would be a coalition government  formed by the DP with the MPRP. 10 out of the first 12 persons on the MPRP party slate had previous connections with the DP in some way. From this point of view, the MPRP is more related to the DP than to the MPP. However, if the DP is to ally with the MPRP, it would be conditional on the MPRP abandoning Enkhbayar and Enkhsaihan.

I know too little about the internal workings of the MPRP to estimate whether a jettisoning of Enkhbayar and Enkhsaikhan is a possibility, especially given the loyalty that Enkhbayar clearly commands among many of the party faithful as we saw in city and countryside campaign offices.

Scenario 3 of a MPP and MPRP coalition is also intriguing, though it relies heavily on the alignment of various factions within the MPP which are also beyond my understanding. According to the Baabar post, this scenario would result in Enkhtuvshin emerging as PM, but also would require a side-lining of the MPRP.

By contrast, any scenarios not involving a MPRP coalition would most likely lead to the MPRP being a noisy opposition party for the coming four years, with frequent outbursts, appeals to populism and a non-negligible threat to Mongolians’ trust in parliament.

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
This entry was posted in Democracy, Democratic Party, Elections, Ikh Khural 2012, Media and Press, Mongolian People's Party, Nationalism, Party Politics, Politics, Populism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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