The Democratic Party (DP) has decided to negotiate with the MPRP-MNDP’s “Justice” coalition on forming a coalition government. However, according to its latest statements, the DP received proposals from the CWGP and independent MPs to join the coalition government. Such a “grand coalition” may reduce the number of noisy oppositions. Also it might be a better option for the DP in terms of the public identity of the new coalition government.
However, before deciding partners for a coalition government, the National Consultative Council of the Democratic Party has approved N.Altankhuyag’s nomination as Prime Minister and Z.Enkhbold’s nomination as the Chair of the State Great Khural. Recalling intra-party convulsions in the past, there was expectation that inter-factional competition within the DP for the distribution of political offices may cause some unexpected political turns. The seemingly smooth process of the nomination of N.Altankhuyag and Z.Enkhbold indicates that influential leaders and major factions of the DP reached a consensus on the distribution of key political offices.
Factions in the DP?
Since the DP was established in 2000 as the coalition of five political parties there has always been rumors about the rivalries among factions. Although most people may know the names of faction leaders, the question of who are the members of these factions and how they actually work has been ambiguous. Unless it is an official statement of one who is in the inner circle of party leaders, any discussions about factions and their relations with each other have always been speculations. However, recently some factions have openly declared their members and objectives. Importantly, an indication of the influence of a faction in the DP is the number of members it has in the National Consultative Council, which makes final decisions on the most important issues in the DP.
After the DP was set to form a coalition government there is a lot of talk going around factional politics, especially about how major factions within the DP such as “Altangadas” (Pole star), “Shonkhor” (Falcon), “MoAH” (Mongolian Democratic Union), “MUDN” (Mongolian National Progress Party), “North East Asia” and “Neg Ardchilal” (One Democracy) would agree on the coalition partner and the distribution of political offices. N.Altankhuyag, the Chairman of the DP, is known as the leader of “Altangadas,” which is regarded as the most influential one among other factions. Z.Enkhbold who is set to be the Chairman of the State Great Khural is the leader of “Shonkhor.” Former Minister of Roads, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development Kh.Battulga who is the leader of “MoAH” has recently been critical of N.Altankhuyag for working merely for the interest of his own faction.
The roots of some of these factions traces back to the 1990s when three opposition parties (the Mongolian Democratic Party, the Mongolian National Progressive Party (MNPP), and the Renaissance Party of Mongolia) merged into the Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP) and to 2000 when the MNDP and four other opposition parties including the Mongolian Social Democrat Party merged and established the DP.
Based on available sources, the following is a rough description of some major factions in the DP.
In 2002, M.Enkhsaikhan became the chairman of the DP. With a group of DP members who were not included in the inner circle of the DP chairman, N.Altankhuyag, who was the secretary of the MSDP previously and the secretary general of the DP from 2001 to 2003, initiated an association within the DP in 2003. The name of the association was “Altangadas” (Pole star) and it had its own journal www.altangadas.mn. Although it was declared that the association aimed to discuss national policy priorities and reforms, it transformed into an influential faction in the DP, especially after the 2004 parliamentary election. Except Kh.Battulga, most ministers from the DP in the 2008 coalition government were the MPs allegedly affiliated with the “Altangadas” association.
The Democratic Coalition Union (www.dcu.mn), an NGO initiated by Z.Enkhbold and some MPs of the DP in 2010, was the beginning of this faction. In January 2012, the members of the General Council of the DCU, which included MPs such as Z.Enkhbold, S.Erdene, Ts.Gankhuyag, and G.Bayarsaikhan, announced the birth of the “Shonkhor” faction in the DP. According to their statements, Shonkhor or falcon symbolizes the Right or right-wing politics.
Kh.Battulga, one of the influential leaders of the DP and former Minister of Roads, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development, is the current leader of the Mongolian Democratic Union (MDU). Newly elected MPs such as R.Burmaa and S.Tuvdendorj are members of this faction.
Mainly former members of the MNPP constitute this faction. Former PM and current MP R.Amarjargal has announced before the election that he was re-forming the “MUDN” faction.
“North East Asia”
Former MPs Batj.Batbayar and Badamdamdin and Baabar are regarded as the founding members. In recent years, MP Lu.Bold leads this faction.
Initiated by young MPs of the DP such as Kh.Temuujin and L.Gantumur, “One Democracy” club (www.onedem.mn) seems to be an organization within the DP representing emerging young leaders.