Constituency Competitiveness

By Julian Dierkes

With the men’s European Championship in football about to start, one might ask if any of the constituencies in the election are a “group of death” like Group D in the Euro where Austria, France, the Netherlands and Poland will be facing off.

For the direct election seats, constituencies will vary as to how fiercely competitive they may appear with some constituencies having more prominent and intuitively viable candidates nominated for the total number of available seats than other ridings.

Assuming that all constituencies will reach the prescribed minimum threshold of 50% voter turnout, election in these constituencies will be by simple ranking of the number of votes received. In a riding with three seats, for example, the top three vote-getters will be elected.

Two factors that might make candidates more or less competitive may be the prominence of candidates running in the riding, and the number of incumbents running.

Prominent Candidates

Prominence is obviously a subjective criterion in that it involves our judgement of a candidate’s visibility and name-recognition. As direct election implies a focus on the individual candidate, party affiliations may be less important in determining a candidate’s chances, especially since the party list vote offers voters the opportunity to express a more general preference for one party over another.

If prominence also implies that candidates have some sway with party organizations in terms of where they have been nominated, we assume that they’ve made some calculation of their electoral chances in a particular constituency. This is particularly interesting in cases like N Altankhuyag who had previously been elected in Erdenet but is now running in Songinokhairkhan or Kh Battulga who had been elected in Bayankhongor when he was an MP, but is now running in constituency 4.

We have listed some notable candidates in a previous post.


While we did not quantify the (incrementally greater) likelihood of election for incumbents in past elections, we are assuming that incumbents have some advantage in upcoming elections. That advantage is based on previous campaign experience and the opportunity of “shadow campaigning” ahead of the official campaign period as MPs. In a previous post we have offered some observation of incumbency in the current set of candidates.

If we take incumbency to be an advantage, we can look at different constituencies in terms of the proportion of incumbents running to available seats.


Constituency # of Incumbents/
# of Seats
# of Incumbents/
# of Seats
# of Candidates/
#of Seats
# of Candidates/
# of Seats
1 5/9 56/100 9/80 11/100
2 7/10 70/100 10/115 9/100
3 2/3 67/100 3/23 13/100
4 6/8 75/100 8/86 9/100
5 6/10 60/100 10/119 8/100
6 4/7 57/100 7/76 9/100
7 5/7 71/100 7/78 9/100
8 1/5 20/100 5/83 6/100
9 2/3 67/100 3/50 6/100
10 2/6 33/100 6/90 7/100
11 2/5 40/100 5/85 6/100
12 0/3 0/100 3/49 6/100
13 1/2 50/100 2/32 6/100

The most incumbents relative to available seats are thus running in constituency 4, 7, 2, while constituencies 12, 8, 10 are the leasts competitive. Note that these three most competitive constituencies are outside of Ulaanbaatar while the least competitive are all Ulaanbaatar constituencies.

Update (June 13, 2024):
Thanks to Bulgan‘s efforts, I added the last two columns to the above table. Note that by looking at the measure of candidates/seats, the city constituencies are more competitive than the countryside, i.e. there are more candidates running for the number of seats contested. By this measure, Bayan-Ulgii (constituency #3) is the least competitive, while Songinokhairkhan (constituency #11) is the most competitive.

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
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