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Nambaryn Enkhbayar

Nambaryn Enkhbayar served a single term as president of Mongolia from 2005 until 2009. On 24 May 2009 former Prime Minister and Democratic Party legislator Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj was elected as President of Mongolia in free and fair elections. Elbegdorj defeated Nambaryn Enkhbayar in this first instance in Mongolia of an incumbent losing a presidential election. The loss was not followed by accusations of fraud or bad faith, but rather by a peaceful transfer of power characterized by the timely and gracious concession of President Enkhbayar.

Enkhbayar was forcibly arrested by Mongolian SWAT teams on 13 April 2012 after what the Mongolian government said was his failure to appear for questioning on charges dealing with instances of corruption. Mongolia's Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) called for the arrest of former Mongolian president Nambaryn Enkhbayar after the former official refused to receive subpoenas which detailed numerous corruption-related violations of the Mongolian Criminal Code. Since the IAAC's first subpoenas were issued to Mr. Enkhbayar over one year earlier, in May of 2011, the IAAC initiated 27 separate investigations, ranging from embezzlement to extortion and bribery; of these ongoing investigations, the IAAC initially charged Mr. Enkhbayar with five offenses.

In incarceration, Enkhbayar suffered further indignities and irregularities of due process. He had inadequate access to family and counsel. He reportedly received abusive verbal treatment. After initiating a "dry hunger strike" without liquids to protest these circumstances -- which is his right under international law as a prisoner -- he was denied adequate medical treatment and endured attempts to force feed him. Only after his health was at risk, Enkhbayar was released on bailso he could receive the medical treatment he needed. Since his April 13th arrest, Enkhbayar had unfettered access to legal counsel as well as both domestic and international news media. Out on bail, Enkhbayar's trial was set to begin on 12 June 2012.

At the time of his arrest, Enkhbayar, who was defeated for Mongolia’s presidency by current president Elbegdorj, had been making an attempt at a political comeback. He had formed a third party in anticipation of Mongolia’s next national election in June 2012 and had proclaimed himself a candidate for the Parliament. The independent General Election Commission of Mongolia (GEC) ruled on 06 June 2012, after an 8-1 vote, that Mr. Enkhbayar was ineligible to run for a seat in Parliament due to the pending criminal allegations against him. The GEC is an autonomous body with a head appointed and members approved by the Parliament.

Enkhbayar, in addition to being President of the country, was previously Prime Minister and has held many other leadership positions in government over the years. Nambaryn Enkhbayar was born on 1 June 1958 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where he attended primary and secondary school, graduating in 1975 with a bachelor of science in literature and language. In 1975 he received a bachelor of science in literature and language from the Literature Institute in Moscow, Russia. He went on to study at Leeds University in the United Kingdom where he completed the English Literature and Language training course in 1986.

From 1990 to 1992 Enkhbayar acted as first vice chairman of the Culture & Art Development Committee. He went on to serve as minister for culture as well as head of the government commission on the erection of the statue of Avalokiteshvara Buddhisattva from 1992 to 1996. He was a Member of the Parliament for the State Great Hural of Mongolia from 1992 to 2004, serving as leader of the minority in the Parliament from 1997 to 2000. President Enkhbayar was also chairman of the party for the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party from 1997 to 2005. In 2000 he became prime minister of Mongolia, going on to become chairman of the Parliament from 2004 to 2005.

On 23 May 2005 Nambaryn Enkhbayar of Mongolia's former communist ruling party, won the country's presidential elections. Mongolia's General Election Committee proclaimed Mr. Enkhbayar, of the former communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, the winner of Sunday's poll. Officials say he garnered more than 50 percent of the vote in an election characterized by promises by all sides to fight corruption and poverty in the sparsely populated, land-locked nation. Three other candidates campaigned on similar themes.

The ruling party's status may have been helped by extraordinary growth figures. Officials say gross domestic product in 2004 rose by 10.9 percent. Mr. Enkbhayar replaces President Bagabandi, also of the formerly Marxist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, which had a monopoly on power in Mongolia before the democratic reforms of the early 1990s.

The president-elect promised to work to continue liberalizing Mongolia's economy, and increase foreign investment. Russia traditionally dominated trade with Mongolia, but the country has been building ties with Japan, the European Union and the United States. Mr. Otgonbayar said neighboring China will continue to play an important role. "[The] number one economic partner and number one investor in Mongolia is China," he said. "We do have very good normal relations with China, and we do intend to keep on having those relations."

Nambaryn Enkhbayar was appointed as president of Mongolia on 24 June 2005. As President, he designed and effectively executed Mongolia's "third neighbor" policy of diversifying its diplomatic and economic relations beyond the strong ties with its immediate neighbors, China and Russia. Enkhbayar personally emphasized relations with the United States; with our Asian allies such as Japan, Korea and Australia; and with Europe. At the request of the Bush Administration, he dispatched Mongolian troops to fight alongside Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, held two summits with President Bush and concluded Mongolia's Millennium Challenge pact in 2007.

Under his leadership, the Mongolian Government strengthened its international peace-keeping role with the United Nations, joined and then took a leading role in the Community of Democracies, provided humanitarian transit for North Korean refugees through Mongolia, and developed important intelligence exchanges with American counterparts.

Domestically, Enkhbayar contributed to Mongolia's political maturation with his graceful concession and cooperation after he lost his re-election bid in the 2009 presidential election to Mr. Elbegdorj, the current President of Mongolia. This smooth transition of the presidency from one party to another at that time did much to solidify the foundations of democratic politics in the country.

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Page last modified: 01-07-2012 18:54:20 ZULU