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Political Parties

Political partymembers%
Mongolian People’s Revolutionary PartyMPRP161,30010.4
Motherland Party160,000 10.3
Democratic PartyDP150,000 9.7
Republican PartyRP50,000 3.2
Civil Will PartyCWP35,000 2.3
Mongolian National Solidarity PartyMNSP15,324 1.0
People’s PartyPP11,859 0.8
Mongolian Social-Democratic PartyMSDP3,0000.2
New National PartyNNP2,400 0.2
Mongolian Green PartyMGP2,100 0.1
Freedom Implementing PartyFIP1,600 0.1
Mongolian Traditional United PartyMTUP1,5030.1
Mongolian Liberal PartyMLP1,300 0.1
Mongolian Women’s National United PartyMWNUP1,0690.1
Development Program PartyDPP933 0.1
Mongolian Democratic Movement PartyMDMP8500.1
Mongolian Liberal Democratic PartyMLDP8360.1
Civil Movement PartyCMP815 0.1
as of April 2008

When the decline and imminent demise of the Soviet Union became apparent and Eastern Europe headed its own way, democratic agitators took the initiative and, through a series of largely peaceful demonstrations in central Ulaanbaatar in 1990, forced the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) to open to multi-party elections and, in turn, motivated the MPRP to reinvent itself to the point where today many of Mongolia's leading business people are MPRP members.

The People’s Revolutionary Party consistently participated in elections, and had many members and supporters. However, the major opposition party, the Democratic Party, was a compound of various parties. As observed over the last four elections, parties other than the People’s Revolutionary Party have been successful only when they have formed coalitions. This was demonstrated in the 1996 and 2004 elections. However, when these parties participate independently their opposition (the MPRP) has obtained resounding victory, as demonstrated in the 1992 and 2000 Elections.

Although the formerly communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) held the overwhelming majority of power in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal, opposition parties have since coalesced into the Democratic Party (DP), which at times won a majority in parliament and selected a prime minister, and in 2009 elected, for the first time, a President.

Although a descendent of the pre-1990 Communist Party, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) policies differ little from those of the more recently emerged Democratic Party (DP). Furthermore, with both parties taking part in a coalition/unity government in Parliament, it is often unclear where the fissure lies between them. One way to distinguish the parties is to examine their respective funding sources. Using company descriptions provided by the General Authority of State Registration, GEC contribution records for the 2008 Parliamentary election offer insight into the networks of individuals and corporate supporters behind each organization.

The General Election Commission's (GEC) requires that all personal donations of 200,000 Tugrik (MNT) (170 USD) or more and corporate donations of 500,000 MNT (430 USD) or more be reported by the recipient parties. These are classified as large donations. Small donors who do not meet this threshold are not reported by name, although their contributions are recorded. The maximum allowed contributions are 1,000,000 MNT (860 USD) for individuals and 3,000,000 MNT for corporations (2,600 USD). Foreigners, minors, debtors, NGOs, religious organizations and trade unions are all prohibited from making political contributions.

The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) appears to draw a large proportion of funding from undocumented and consequently illegal sources. The Democratic Party (DP) appears transparent in comparison, and draws from a much broader base comprised largely of individuals. The distinct absence of mining interests in the public contribution records suggests that this sector is providing funds to politicians in secret, and primarily to the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP).

The MPRP reported one billion MNT (USD 800,000) in contributions for the 2008 election cycle. This is five billion MNT short of the DP's coincident fundraising for a comparable number of candidates. More telling, the estimated minimum cost per MPRP member to run in 2008 was at least USD 150,000. With 76 seats up for grabs, minimum election costs for the MPRP may have easily reached USD 11.4 million, suggesting at least a USD 10 million shortfall in reported funds. Although the mining sector accounts for more than 20 percent of GDP, no contribution from them is documented to any party.

During the socialist era the population of Mongolia increased and the living standards, and educational and cultural level of the people was considerably raised, but human rights were violated and all the rights of people to vote, to be elected to public organizations, and freedom of speech and publication were restrained within the bounds set out according to the ruling party’s political policy, ideology and direction.

Since the 1980s, the process of perestroika and reform launched in the former USSR has made that nation the vanguard of socialist countries. The development of the socialist block’s member countries was apparently hindered. The new leadership of the communist party in the former USSR began carrying out policies of reform, democracy, openness and pluralism, which influenced eastern European countries and Mongolia.

Such changes in the political sphere and external and internal conditions had much impact on Mongolian society. A movement aimed at democratic reform of the social systems of the USSR , eastern European countries became more politicized, and by the end of 1989, the movement for democracy intensified in Mongolia.

The Mongolian democratic movement had intensified in the 1990s turning into a more organized and unified movement and gaining the support of Mongolian people. In the course of launching the movement for democracy, new political forces such as the New Progress Union, the socialist democratic Movement, the Mongolian Green Party, the Mongolian National Progress Party, the Mongolian Free Labor Party and the Mongolian Social Democratic Party formed expanding the scope of the movement. Also in the ranks of the MPRP there appeared fractions consisting of young communists standing for the party renewal and composing policies of reform and restructure.

The movement for democracy achieved progress step by step in a few short months. The resignation of the leadership of the party, whose role was set out by the Constitution of the MPR since the 1960s and which alone used to decide the direction of the country’s political, social and economic spheres over the past seven decades was the outcome attained by the movement for democracy.

Efforts for strengthening the outcome of the struggle for democracy have been undertaken persistently since the year 1990 in Mongolia. The period of transition from a one-party rule political system to a parliament functioning on a standing basis continued from December of 1990 to July of 1992.

The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party [MPRP] ruled Mongolia for 75 years, throughout the Soviet era and beyond, until it was finally ousted in 1996. While a new constitution in 1992 created a new parliament (the State Great Hural) to replace the People’s Great Hural, the MPRP also won a significantmajority in the new body. Its 71 out of a total of 76 seats gave it firm control while Mongolia’s fledgling opposition parties remained essentially powerless. But the balance began to shift away from the MPRP in 1994, when the party turned against President Ochirbat after he vetoed legislation passed by the parliament. When Ochirbat lost the MPRP’s backing in Mongolia’s first direct presidential election in 1993, he ran and won as an opposition candidate.

Mongolia’s parliamentary elections on June 30, 1996, were the first in which an effective, organized opposition existed to challenge the MPRP’s 75-year rule. The“Democratic Union,” formed over a period of about five years by a coalition of eightopposition parties, was the only party to field a clear, recognizable political platformto challenge MPRP candidates. It achieved a stunning electoral victory in what waswidely regarded as a free and fair election.

The Motherland-Democratic Coalition, a sometimes-fractious group of moderate right-of-center parties, ruled Mongolia from 1996 until its crushing defeat in 2000, amid sharp economic decline, hyperinflation and a gridlocked government. In the 2004 parliamentary campaign, the formerly communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, or M.P.R.P., used its advantage as the incumbent to dominate campaign advertising. M.P.R.P. billboards vastly outnumber those of the Motherland-Democratic Coalition, as do television and radio ads on the state-run media. In June's voting, the MPRP won 36 seats in the 76-seat parliament, while the coalition took 34. The coalition claimed victory with the support of three independents. But each side accused the other of voting irregularities, sparking protests and calls for recounts in disputed constituencies.

In August 2004 Mongolia's leading political parties agreed to form a new government after nearly two months of political uncertainty. The head of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, Nambaryn Enkhbayar, was elected speaker of parliament, after the country's rival political parties reached a power-sharing agreement. The deal ends nearly two months of political wrangling between the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, or MPRP, and the Motherland Democratic Coalition. The two split the parliamentary vote of 27 June 2004 right down the middle.

In the run-up to Mongolia's 29 June 2008 Parliamentary elections, the local media organizations focused on political mud-slinging by parties and criticism of the General Election Commission (GEC). Prime fodder in the press and on TV were promises made by the country's two biggest parties regarding how to spread the wealth generated from yet-to-be-developed mining. Those parties, the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and the opposition Democratic Party (DP), appeared to receive a disproportionate amount of press coverage.

This campaign season, Mongolia's usually staid domestic TV programming was a virtual battleground for political parties and their proxies. On June 26, the leaders of the MPRP and DP held their first and only debate of the campaign. Initially, the debate was to be held on Mongolian National Television. But the GEC warned that if the public broadcaster were to air the debate, it would be a violation of the Election Law provision requiring equal public airtime for all parties and candidates. In the end, the debate was aired on commercial TV.

The parties moved beyond mere attack and support ads to influence voting habits. As reported in Odriin Sonin, the Civil Will Party sent a letter to the GEC demanding a stop to an ad, which shows voters circling candidates from the same political party (6/16). Recent support ads have run the gimlet from adoration of a candidate to more subtle attempts to portray a candidate as closely tied to Mongolian traditions. The MPRP even resorted to the music video as a form of campaigning: The video features citizens in Chinggis Khan-era traditional clothing and military garb, singing the praises of their motherland. A plethora of traditional Mongolian rituals and objects, such as calligraphy, abound as the MPRP logo and name appears as a watermark on the screen.

Mongolia's major media outlets remain influenced by political parties and powerful patrons. If not exactly a free press, a vibrant media scene has nonetheless emerged from amid the tangled web of interlocking ownership relations. Among print media, the sheer number of papers ensures some degree of balance for educated readers in the diversity of voices. Television remains the major medium for reaching the masses, from the capital through the provinces, and also offers a balance of voices across the political spectrum. The Internet is also beginning to make headway, especially among Mongolian youth.

A coalition government led by Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold, who is also chairman of the ruling Mongolian People's Party, was formed following the post-election riot on July 1, 2008. Six members of the Mongolian Democratic Party worked as cabinet members and ministers of the government. By having a coalition government, Mongolia was able to have a stable political life and overcome the global financial and economic crisis with less damage.

The Mongolian People’s Party was known as the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party /MPRP/ from 1924 until November 5, 2010. The name-change idea was nothing new and members had long argued that the "Revolutionary" in Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party moniker wes out of step with an organization that now likened itself to Britain's Labor Party or Germany's Social Democrats. Other names being considered include the "Labor Party," the "Mongolian Democratic Development Party" and the "Socially Oriented Democratic Party." Some MPRP members wanted to change the party's name in 2007, while others favored after the June 2008 election or in 2009. Others, opposed any name change.

Mongolian Democratic Party Chairman Norov Altankhuyag announced 05 January 2012 he would withdraw his party from the coalition government led by Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold. Altankhuyag, also the country's First Deputy Prime Minister, made the announcement during the regular weekly news conference held with the party leaders. "I have informed the prime minister about the decision to pull out from the coalition. We will work with the prime minister until he finds replacements for the ministers and cabinet members from the Democratic Party," he said. This move is related to the election campaign of the party for the parliamentary and local council elections to be held in June 2012.

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Page last modified: 01-07-2012 18:54:15 ZULU