By Julian Dierkes and Marissa J. Smith

Incumbency has been a big factor in past elections in Mongolia regardless of (changes to) the electoral system.

Given the “choice” of nomination for direct election or the party list, what are incumbents doing this time?

In total (as of May 28, see our table of candidates), there are 49 incumbents running for re-election. That is just under two thirds (64%) of previous members.

For the MPP, 36 incumbents are running. All are running for direct election seats, none have been nominated via the party list.

For the DP, 12 incumbents are running. That includes N Altankhuyag who had previously been elected as an independent but is now running for the DP, though he is a candidate in Songinokhairkhan, not in Erdenet (now in constituency #4, including Orkhon, Bulgan and Khuvsgul aimags) where he was elected in 2020. 10 are running for direct election seats, while 2 have been nominated via the party list, S Odontuya (2nd on party list) and J Batsuuri (3rd).

The lone MP for KhUN, T Dorjkhand, heads up the party list.


Regardless of their election result in 2020, incumbents have thus broadly been chosen to run in direct election races.

Besides N Altankhuyag, only two other incumbents are also changing constituency: P Anujin (moving from Songinokhairkhan district of UB to constituency #6 – Dornod, Khentii, Sukhbaatar), S Ganbaatar (also from Erdenet/Orkhon to #1 – Arkhangai, Uvurkhangai, Bayankhongor). Two of the three moving onto the list from directly-elected seats are doing so from districts of UB (Dorjkhand from Khan-Uul and Odontuya from Bayangol).

Not only are most of the incumbents running in the same geographic areas where they were before, several do or have held the position of local governor – Amarsaikhan for Ulaanbaatar, Batlut for Orkhon, Sandag-Ochir for Baganuur, Enkhtuvshin for Dornogovi, Odontuya for Bayangol district of UB, Naranbaatar for Umnugovi, Batjargal for Tuv, Ganbold for Uvurkhangai. (Batsuuri was also formerly governor of Sukhbaatar aimag, but he is moving onto the party list.)


The fact that so many incumbents are running not only for election in particular constituencies, and in ones in which they have established local presence, fits with a long-time trend contributing to the MPP’s staying power, at least beyond Ulaanbaatar. (See Marissa’s peer-reviewed journal article on this topic here).

For the Ulaanbaatar vote, however, there may be greater contest. In the wake of the “big three” parties announcing their lists of candidates through the media, a prominent thread of comment that emerged on social media called the composition of the MPP party list a “trap”, or in a more extreme case observed, “make-up.” In this line of reasoning, the MPP list “distracts” with new, non-Party career candidates, while the incumbents occupy directly-elected spots. The presentation of young, well-educated, professional candidates also strongly characterized KhUN’s “Right Person” campaign in the last election, and that former DP MP and minister Ts. Oyungerel’s CUP is carrying out on social media presently.

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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