Guest Post: Will the parties consider what the electorate wants to see on the ballots? There is a TV show for that. 

By E Lkhagva

As far as I can remember I don’t think there has been election coverage in Mongolian democratic history where the public felt there has been enough debates between candidates, real  interviews or fair coverage in general.

When you think about how local media cover general elections one can point to the lack of debates, badly organized interviews or over-produced glossy candidate profiles which leave the electorate disengaged wondering how misrepresented they are in the Ikh Khural. Add social media trolls and known influencers and artists openly endorsing the Prime Minister an act netizens of Mongolia are calling “Хиамчин, Хиамрах” ham or to act of hamming this year’s election would be tough for the average voter to make sense or to make an informed decision. The role of the media in elections has been an aspect that has been identified repeatedly by OSCE Election Observation Missions.

This is especially true for younger voters. There have been efforts to engage them to come out in the past namely the Ugloo campaign. A large poll of 11,000 respondents by MMCG this spring shows Mongolians would like to see someone “new, young and clean”. This is true for previous polls done by Sant Maral Polit barometers and IRI youth perception survey. But are the parties listening? Will they send fresh new faces to the 13 electoral districts this year or will they prefer more established candidates whom the constituencies’ awareness level is higher. Many are claiming that the party list would be a welcome addition to include younger and female politicians to access the legislative arena. However, the party list has yet to be finalized as the parties scramble to align their platforms to get the seal of approval from the National Audit Office. And, even if female, younger and/or new candidates are nominated by the MPP and DP, if they are nominated for lower spots on the party list or in more competitive electoral districts, their chances may be very unclear. KHUN’s ability to have representatives elected via a party list and proportional representation also remains untested.

Rules of the game. No country for new candidates.

This year the rules of the game have changed. Again. Districts are larger. The campaign period is shorter. Parties will need to present a 48 person list for the proportional vote and 78 candidates to be nominated in the electoral districts. The local elections in October remain the same districts as 2020.

New Coverage

Returning back to journalism after 5 years in the ripe election season, my editorial and production team at MongolTV decided to put together a political reality show to demonstrate how the political process unfolds and to introduce new, young and clean candidates to the public and ultimately to provide a national platform for them to share their stories. We are offering half a billion tugriks for the winner to devote to their cause.  This is not an original idea. In 2015 UBS television has produced a  “Улс төрд шинэ манлайлагч” which introduced many DP, MPP and even business and civil society leaders at the time. The 8 episodes of political reality format will be profiling 100 out of 520 applications we received from a diverse backgrounds all around Mongolia  and the hopeful future candidates will need to complete 8 tasks for their chance to be recognized nationally and to earn 500 million tugriks.

The production team has put in efforts to balance the representation in terms of gender, social minority groups and political parties and walking a tight rope to stay within the legislative red lines on not showing party affiliation of candidates to be within the guidelines of the new election law.

Whether we succeed in producing a show which elevates voter education, demonstrate that young, new politicians are in fact capable of making tough decisions, and offer solutions to national and local issues will be for you to judge from April 26th Saturday evening. We hope the show achieve its goal to nudge parties to consider more representative candidates to their lists and drive political discourse on the subjects that matter for this election cycle.

About E Lkhagva

Lkhagva is a journalist, Editor-in-Chief of MongolTV based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He holds a Master of Journalism degree from Journalism and Media Study Centre of the University of Hong-Kong and currently serves as a Board Member for Independent Fund for Media Self-Regulation.







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
This entry was posted in Democratic Party, Ikh Khural 2024, KhUN, Lkhagva Erdene, Media and Press, Mongolian People's Party, Party Politics, Politics, Younger Mongolians. Bookmark the permalink.

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