Back in December 2011 when the electoral law was changed, I speculated on the impact these changes would have on incumbents.
We are now beginning to see some of this impact. The main challenge to incumbents (who are generally favored in elections throughout the world, of course) comes through the introduction of a portion of MPs to be elected from party lists by proportional representation, as well as through the requirement that 20% of all candidates must be female [not 30% as I had posted originally, thanks for the correction to Hon. Z Enkhbold via Twitter].
Given the very low number of female MPs in the current Ikh Khural (3), the requirement to have 20% of candidates female already challenges many incumbents.
Proportional representation adds a challenge to incumbents in that they are forced to make a choice to run either for a majoritarian district or to jockey for position on the party list, since the supreme court ruled out movement between the two categories. Since a significant number of current MPs did not previously win their ridings, but won a seat as a second, third, or fourth-placed candidate, the majoritarian districts represent a bit of a gamble.
This is evident, for example, in the Civil Will Green Party’s decision to run its most prominent politician, S. Oyun, as the first candidate on its party list, rather than have her risk a loss in a majoritarian district.
The strategic decision inherent in two avenues to a seat thus present another particular challenge to incumbents.
If we look at a recent press announcement of the candidates’ lists for the Civil Will Green Party (other parties’ lists are not yet available) we see Oyun heading that list, followed by three men (Demberel, Gan-Ochir, Khurelsukh). For the next candidate, Ganbat (M), Dugersuren (F), Choidorj (M), Enkhtuya (F) and Naranzul (F). Realistically, the CWGP probably has a chance at winning 5 seats or so as it will be one of the main beneficiaries from the introduction of proportional representation, but any seats beyond 5 would be a huge win unless the upcoming Enkhbayar trial will give a boost to public debates on politicians’ corruption. [Note that Enkhbayar’s trial has been postponed for another 10 days; interestingly, the MPRP may even attempt to nominate Enkhbayar for this election since he’s innocent until the court finds him guilty.] On this topic, the CWGP might be the only viable party that is credible in its anti-corruption stance.
According to the DP announcement, N.Altanhuyag (M), Z. Enkhbold (M), Kh. Temuujin (M), Ch. Saikhanbileg (M), and D. Erdenebat leads the list; only two female candidates R. Burmaa (7th) and M. Batchimeg (10th) out of total nine female candidates come in the first 10 (DP list). The MPP also includes nine female candidates and only one D. Sarangerel ranked in the first 10 spots on the party list. Prime Minister S. Batbold, U. Khurelsukh, D. Demberel, O. Enkhtuvshin, D. Lundeejantsan, and Ts. Nyamdorj lead the MPP list. Former Prime Minister S. Bayar will not run in this upcoming election (MPP list).
The struggle among the party members seem to be intense. For example, incumbent MP Temuujin, who emerged as one of the active, outspoken younger politicians in the Democratic Party in the past parliamentary session, was unsuccessful in his bid for a nomination in the Bayangol district because he was rejected by local DP members in favor of S. Erdene (M) and S. Odontuya (F). However, he ranked quite high in the DP list.