Since their first forum “National Development – Mongol Person” in February this year, the Development Hun (ХҮН/Hun = person, individual) club expressed its intent of becoming a political force, but had not settled on both type (political movement, pressure group or party) or name. So, on May 4, the Development Hun club announced that they were becoming the new “National Labour Party” (in Mongolian) “Хөдөлмөрийн Үндэсний Нам”, abbreviated as ХҮН. The National Labour Party was registered with the Supreme Court of Mongolia on November 2011 as a political party and there was no information on whether it was a name transfer or merger. Before settling on the name, the club had suggested a few names which contained the word ХҮН. This is because their framework is to centre on ХҮН.
According to Sant Maral’s April 2015 Politbarometer, 43.5% of respondents say that none of the political parties can best solve the socio-political or economic problems that Mongolia is facing today. This seems to suggest an opening for a possible new political force next to the two large parties and well-established parties like MAXH and Civil Will Green Party.
Those problems are in priority order Unemployment; Standard of living; Price increase (totals 65%) Economy, Law enforcement, Corruption, Education, Social Justice, State Administration and lastly Environment rated on the 10th place with 1.4%. Many of these problems are addressed in the HUN party’s “Mongolia Goal” agenda. There are 10 pillars for the Mongolia Goal [see the graphic entitled “МОНГОЛ ЗОРИЛГО” on Facebook]. Those are: (right to left)
- National Existence
- Environment to create wealth
- Legal Environment
- Wealth Distribution Environment
The “Mongol Goal” is illustrated in three timelines, short term, medium and long term, with set up qualitative and quantities objectives for the Mongolian economy and society up till 2050. The proposed framework suggests a liberal ideology, accepting the government’s role in education, health and poverty and endorsing a free(er) market economy.
The party seems to be building an image of educated and experienced men who are mature and energetic, based on the people who are representing the party in the public domain.
For example, the party leader is Mr. S. Borgil, who received a masters and PhD in the U.S., and has previous work experience at the Mongolian Ministry of Finance and a bank in Colorado.
Mr. B. Naidalaa is the CEO and the secretary of the Mongolian Banker’s Association, with previous experience in banking and MCS company. He has a graduate degree from the University of Kobe, Japan.
Another figure representing the party is Mr. T. Bat-Orgil, his mother and grandmother are highly respected and state-recognized actresses in Mongolia, so he is perceived by the public as being the son of a wealthy family and out of touch with the realities of a difficult life.
All three man are successful, educated and experienced. According to their interviews, many of the party’s members are foreign graduates and harvested work experience, recognized in specific sectors (technocrats). They uphold strong values of ethics, principles, accountability and humility at the individual level.
At the institutional level, they are promoting strong institutions (often pointing fingers at the other parties for having weak institutional capacity) guided by knowledge, justice and unity. As per the same Politbarometer, 65% of the respondents say that government policy is characterized most by self-interested politicians and in support for the rich. So, the image and message of “technocrat – capable institution” is appealing to many. This could also be a good strategy as the need of having technocratic perspectives involved in political decision-making was the main motive (at least publicly) to dissolve Prime Minister N. Altankhuyag’s government and was the main condition for the next government (although this did not happen).
Challenges in Organizing a New Political Force
There are two main criticisms so far. The party is firmly pointing its fingers at the MPP & DP for their failures, but a further round of the “blame game” is not the best strategy to win the hearts of some. The second issue is that people are starting to develop conspiracy theories about the party’s finances as the events they organize are taking place at fancy venues and without transparent information on backers.
Anyone who has observed past election years in Mongolia would know that they will hear about many new political parties that they have never heard before during election campaign and will never hear again till the next election. The public is weary of yet another “New Political Party” especially on the doorstep of another election. But the National Labour Party might be the new thing that Mongolia might give a go for the next election in 2016 as they seem to be hitting the nail on the head (at least according to the Politbarometer 2015).
About Bulgan Batdorj
Bulgan Batdorj is a Master’s student at the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering of the University of British Columbia. Her research interests are Extractive Dependency, Resource Curse and Sustainability.