Nominated for Prime Minister: R Amarjargal

On November 12 the State Great Khural Democratic Party caucus selected a candidate for prime minister, Rinchinnyam Amarjargal. This vote came a mere week after former Prime Minister N Altankhuyag lost a vote of no-confidence on November 5. This does not mean that Amarjargal has been elected since that vote has to come in the full State Great Khural. The DP is also open to discussions about coalitions that would form to support Amarjargal as a candidate. In the meantime, the nomination was widely supported by DP MPs but opposed by Altankhuyag who is still party chair for now, an office that has been tied to the prime ministership in the past.

Background on R Amargargal

R Amarjargal (Ринчиннямын Амаржаргал) is 53 years old and previously served as the last prime minister of the 1996-2000 Democratic Union coalition government, from July 30, 1999 to July 26, 2000. He had been elected to parliament for the first time in 1996 and served as foreign minister when current president Ts Elbegdorj was prime minister from April to December 1998. He was elected chairman of the Mongolian National Democratic Party (Монголын Үндэсний Ардчилсан Нам) in 1999 which was a member of the Democratic Union coalition and merged into the Democratic Party of today following the massive election defeat in 2000.

As prime minister in 1999/2000 Amarjargal had to resign his seat in parliament which he regained (running as an independent) in 2004. He was reelected representing Khovd and the Democratic Party in 2008 and representing Ulaanbaatar’s central Sukhbaatar district in 2012.

He would continue the recent dominance of politicians from Western Mongolia in politics. President Elbegdorj is also from Khovd and former prime minister Altankhuyag is from Uvs.

Amarjargal was educated in Russia at the  Plekhanov Russian University of Economics and speaks fluent Russian. In 1995, he obtained a MSc in Macroeconomic Policy and Planning from the Univ of Bradford in the UK. He was an early democracy activist and quite involved in the initial privatization of state assets.

Recently, Amarjargal has been somewhat of a gadfly or an independent spirit in parliament, focusing especially on economic policy. He is a member of the MUDN (Mongolian National Progress Party) faction of the Democratic Party headed up by the former Min of Construction Ts Bayarsaikhan. But he is generally seen to not be very beholden to the faction. He has a reputation as being fairly uncompromising and willful which has hurt his standing in the DP in the past and would be a strong contrast with former prime minister Altankhuyag’s style. He was one of the 8 members of the DP who voted against Altankhuyag on Nov 5.

Amarjargal tweets @AmarjargalR

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 toots and tweets @jdierkes
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