Women Candidates 2024 Election

By Julian Dierkes, Bulgan B and Marissa J. Smith

Thanks to Marissa Smith‘s initiative, we’re building a table of candidates running in the June 28 parliamentary election. One of the characteristics we included in the table right away is gender.

Women via Proportional Representation

As we explained in our primer on the election system, 30% of all candidates must be women, and the party lists follow a “zipper system” with alternating male and female candidates. That raises the question whether this decision about the electoral system is likely to increase the number of women MPs in the parliament, as is intended.

Given the 48 seats that will be elected through proportional representation, that in itself will mean around half of the candidates elected via the party list will be women. “Around half” because all three major parties (MPP, DP, KhUN) for whom we’ve collected information so far have a man in their first party list position, so there could be a scenario where not exactly half of the proportional seats are filled by women. Even then, that implies a minimum of 22 women elected via proportional representation which would surpass the current absolute number of 13 in the 2020-24 parliament.

Percentage-wise that would be a bit less clear, of course, since the parliament is expanding from 76 to 126 seats. If no women are elected via direct election (obviously an unlikely scenario), the 24 women that are likely to be elected via the proportional vote would make up would make up 19% of MPs. That would be more than the current 17%, but obviously not a distribution that would reflect the population especially given the high proportion of women in post-secondary education with most of MPs having attended university of some kind. Note also that 19% would not return to the levels seen in socialist parliaments that were in the low 20%, though obviously given the lack of a competitive election for those seats, that is a skewed comparison.

Women via Direct Election

At this point, it’s obviously very hard to predict how many women might be elected via direct seats. As far as we’ve been able to determine (we’ll keep checking, revising and adding to the table over coming weeks) the female incumbents running in this election will be:

  • B Bayarsaikhan (MPP)
  • D Unurbolog (MPP)
  • Ch Undram (MPP)
  • P Anujin (MPP)
  • B Saranchimeg (MPP)
  • G Munkhtsetseg (MPP)
  • S Odontuya (DP)
  • A Adiyasuren (DP)

Given that incumbency has been a big advantage in past elections, it would seem like a fair assumption that a number equal to the female incumbents would be elected again, though that is very speculative.

If the number of women who succeed in direct elections were roughly the same as the number of incumbents running that would mean 8 additional female MPs.

With the 24 female MPs likely to be elected via the party lists, that would lead to 32 or so women which would be just over a quarter of the new 2024-2028 Parliament.

There are a number of prominent women running for direct election who are not incumbents, of course (for example, Foreign Minister B Battsetseg and Minister of Culture and Tourism Ch. Nomin), so if the incumbents are successful in their re-election bids and additional women are elected, that proportion could rise further.

We are also watching for Ts. Oyungerel and her new third party, the Civic Unity Party (CUP), to announce their party lists and candidates for directly-elected seats. While they have been active on social media and have released materials such as this video on Facebook and X, the CUP have not released a list as the “big three” parties have at this time. (Update: The CUP list is available here. Ts. Oyungerel has registered, and the list is predominantly female, including 35 women and 24 men.)

One of the interesting questions that will arise for the next parliament will be the perception of (the relative power of) directly elected MPs vs their colleagues who will have been elected via party lists. Julian previously speculated about this and gender may also play into that perception.

As a final caveat, we also note again that these candidate lists are lists of the names of those individuals whom parties are submitting for registration. All candidates still must be cleared by the General Election Committee and candidates will not receive their official candidate card and official go-ahead to start campaigning until next month.

Women Parliamentarians, Mathematical Representation and Outlook

The above parameters lead us to consider the following likely results in terms of women’s representation among MPs. Let’s use simple math to predict the number of women in the parliament for the 2024-2028 term. The proportional seats of 48 secure 17-19% of female parliamentarians, depending on whether we get 22 or 24 women. Only 14 (out of 78) candidates are women in the MPP and DP candidates in the 13 constituencies. The KhUN party has the highest number of women nominated in direct representation, at 34.  In the proportional system, the KhUN Party has nominated 24 out of 48 seats for women, while the MPP and DP have nominated 23 women each.  With these numbers added, MPP and DP just met the 30% quota with 38 women candidates according to the amendment (see all the changes to the election legislation here). KhUN party has the highest number of women at 57, or 45% of women.

If we focus on possibilities rather than probabilities, we can propose three distinct scenarios for the representation of women in parliament. These would give us about 25-30% of women’s representation in the parliament, the possibility of almost double the existing number or a slight increase.

Type of Representation Number of Seats Scenario: Stagnant Parity Scenario: Modest Progress Scenario: Modest Setback
Proportional 48 22-24
(Based on zipper system, max # of women is 24, min is 22)
(maximum number of women)
(minimum number of women)
Direct 78 11-13
(Based on previous two elections of 15-17% of elected MPs are women)
(19%, increment of 2% based on last two elections)
(13%, decrement of 2% from maintained)
Total 126 33-37
(This represents 26-29% of  elected MPs are women)
(30% of the parliament)
(25% of the parliament)

Given the number of women nominated by both parties from direct representation, it will be difficult to have up to 11-13 women, meaning at least one woman from each constituency. However, if we look at the superficial calculation, we see that many factors play into the election.  Anyway, we will continue to analyze the situation further.

* Edit, 5/30/24: Female incumbents also include Kh. Bulgantuya (MPP)

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 @jdierkes@sciences.social.
This entry was posted in Democracy, Democratic Party, Elections, Gender, Ikh Khural 2024, KhUN, Mongolian People's Party, Party Politics, Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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