Update on 2012 Election Procedures

June 28, 2012 could be a decisive moment for Mongolian democracy. One of the important factors that enabled Mongolia’s successful democratization compared to some of its post-socialist peers is the trustworthiness of the election results. However, as we all know well, this essential element of a stable democratic system is increasingly being questioned.

This was most vividly manifested by the July 1st riots that erupted against the MPRP, which allegedly influenced the election result in 2008. During the July 1st riot five people were killed by police and hundreds were injured during the clash between civilians and police. Last month four high-level police officials who commanded police during the state of emergency were arrested under the accusation of the abuse of power. Whether the 2012 election will increase the trustworthiness of elections or lead to a vicious circle of political instability is a crucial challenge ahead.

After a series of political negotiation (between the MPP and the DP) and court battles (the Ikh Khural vs. the Constitutional Court), the 2012 Ikh Khural election is set to be organized by a mixed election system. 48 of the total 76 Ikh Khural members will be elected through the single-district, single-winner system or multi-member district majoritarian system. The remaining 28 members will be elected by the party list system. So, ballots will have two sections.

First, there will be the names of candidates who will be competing in a electoral district. Second, the names of political parties will be listed by the order of the year of foundation. So there will be two types of MPs elected through two different systems and there will be no connection between the two systems. The Constitutional Court vetoed the article on ‘slipping’ in the Election Law of the Ikh Khural on May 2, 2012. ‘Slipping’ allowed candidates who were defeated, but received more than 28 percent of votes in their electoral districts to be included in the pool of candidates who are in the party list. These candidates would be ranked along with the candidates who are named in the party-list. But, according to the court, this a rather unfair “double opportunity” for some candidates was cancelled.

This week, 11 political parties and two coalitions submitted their platforms for the 2012 election to the Department of National Audit.

The Ulaanbaatar City Khural will use the same mixed election system. 15 of the total 45 Khural members will be elected through the party-list system and 30 seats will be taken by the winners in the single-member districts. This inclusion of the proportional system was a result of recent talks between the MPP and the DP.

While the rules of election have been finally set up, there is a question mark on the organization of election. First, there is much doubt about the reliability of the electronic ballot counting machines that will be used for the first time in this election. The technical reliability and security concerns regarding counting machines are key issues. Secondly, the Government of Mongolia failed to implement a program for digital national identification cards, which was expected to overcome the potential for election fraud.

There has been some significant gap in the estimation of the number of registered voters in Mongolia. One of the accusations against the MPP after the 2008 elections was that it used its control of civil registration to illegally increase the number of pro-MPP voters. Even though voters can check online whether their names are in the official registration of voters, the alleged fraud related to the voter registration often happened in rural provinces. Furthermore, the composition of the central election committee and local committees were always dominated by the members of the MPP and the DP. The equal inclusion of people representing different political and civil organizations should be taken seriously, as well. The role of local and foreign election observers is expected to be equally important, but it depends on the extent to which they are exposed to the details of the process of election. I expect that more foreign election observers will come to Mongolia this year and they will focus more on rural electoral districts than on Ulaanbaatar.

There is a lot at stake in the 2012 elections. The most important of which is how fair the elections are going to be organized so that it will support democratic legitimacy and stability in Mongolia.

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2 Responses to Update on 2012 Election Procedures

  1. Pavel Maskarinec says:

    Do not you know the way, how the seats will be distributed in the party list system, i.e. for example using the modified DHondt, Sainte-Laguë formula, etc? Thanks.

    • D.Byambajav says:

      Hello Pavel, thanks for your interest. Below is the article of the parliamentary election law describing the way how the seats will be distributed in the party list system. Please let me know to which methods this prodcedure is close to.

      Article 49. Totalling of election outcomes, allocation of seats and reporting
      49.1. The General Election Commission shall total the election results delivered by district committees pursuant to Article 48 hereof at the national level and allocate seats to the parties and coalitions in the following manner:
      49.1.1. to calculate the total number of all votes obtained by each party and coalition and make a slate (hereinafter referred to as “slate “B”) by arranging parties and coalitions that have obtained at least five percent of the ballots cast in order of the percentages of votes they have obtained;
      49.1.2. to re-calculate the percentages of the votes obtained by the parties and coalitions on slate “B” by adding to them an equal share of the total percentage of the votes won by those parties and coalitions that have failed to pass the five-percent threshold referred to in Article 49.1.1 hereof;
      49.1.3. to calculate a percentage of votes per seat by dividing the sum of the percentages of votes obtained by the parties and coalitions on slate “B” referred to in Article 49.1.2 hereof by 28; and
      49.1.4. to proportionally distribute 28 seats of Members of the State Great Hural based on the largest remainder formula by dividing the percentages of votes referred to in Article 49.1.2 hereof of each party and coalition on slate “B” by the percentage per seat referred to in Article 49.1.3 hereof.
      Note: “Proportional distribution according to the largest remainder principle” means calculating the number of seats per percentages of votes won by parties and coalitions to produce unrounded figures, allocating the seats to the parties and coalitions first based on their integer, and completing the allocation of the remaining seats based on the fractional remainders, starting from the parties and coalitions that have the largest fractional remainders.
      49.1.5. (this Article has been annulled by Resolution No.3 of 2 May 2012 of the Constitutional Court)
      49.1.6. Party or coalition candidates other than those standing for election in districts shall be listed as per order referred to in Article 27.5.4 hereof to produce a slate (hereinafter referred to as slate “D”) for each party and coalition;
      (Provision of this Article “…to arrange candidates entered on slate “C” produced for each district as per Article 49.1.5 hereof and not deemed elected Members of the State Great Hural pursuant to Articles 48.2 and 48.5 hereof for each party and coalition in order of percentages of votes they have obtained as per slate “C”, and after the above candidates …” has been annulled by Resolution No. 3 of 2 May 2012 of the Constitutional Court.)
      Note: In the event the percentage of votes obtained by candidates from a party or coalition turns out equal in the process of developing slate “D,” the General Election Commission shall undertake ranking based on the number of votes obtained by the candidates in the districts.
      49.1.7. to deem the same number of party or coalition candidates counting from the top of slate “D” referred to in Article 49.1.6 hereof, as the number of seats allocated to the party or coalition pursuant to Article 49.1.4 hereof, to be elected Members of the State Great Hural.
      49.2. The General Election Commission shall issue temporary credentials of Members of the State Great Hural to the candidates deemed to be elected Members of the State Great Hural pursuant to Article 49.1.7 hereof.
      49.3. The General Election Commission shall finalize the number of seats won by parties and coalitions and a list of persons elected Members of the State Great Hural within 15 days following the end of the election and submit to the President of Mongolia and make the report public.

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