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Mongolia's ruling party wins slim majority in election

June 28, 2024

Mongolia's ruling MPP maintained its majority by a much smaller margin in a newly expanded parliament. Opposition parties made gains amid discontent over corruption and economic woes.

People vote at a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia June
About 2.2 million voters can cast ballots in the huge and sparsely populated nation Image: B. Rentsendorj/REUTERS

The ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP) retained a slim majority in Mongolia's parliament, according to preliminary election results.

Although the opposition Democratic Party made major gains, the MPP managed to hold onto its majority despite increasing frustration over corruption and the state of the economy.

The young democracy, sandwiched between authoritarian giants China and Russia, has seen a perceived failure by the main opposition to present a convincing alternative.

MPP sees setback despite win

Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai told the media that the MPP had won 68 to 70 seats in the 126-seat parliament.

In 2020, the party had won 62 seats in a much smaller 76-member parliament, giving it an overwhelming majority in the legislative body.

A new system saw 126 seats in an expanded parliament at stake for the first time, with 78 of those filled by direct vote and another 48 seats allocated via a party list.

Some 2.2 million voters can cast their ballots in the huge and sparsely populated nation of 3.4 million.

While the center-right Democratic Party had been deemed likely to win a significant share of votes, it was accused of failing to provide a credible alternative to the status quo.

The center-right HUN party was expected to capitalize on this, enjoying significant support among the urban middle classes.

Pope praises Mongolia's tradition of religious freedom

Election day is a public holiday in Mongolia, and preliminary results are expected by early Saturday morning.

Why is Mongolia important?

Many Western observers consider Mongolia to be an important democratic buffer, being wedged between China and Russia.

The country became a democracy in 1990 and has tried to maintain a balanced relationship with its two larger neighbors, having a high economic dependence on both.

Almost all of Mongolia's crude oil imports come from Russia while more than 90% of the country's total exports go to China, for the most part coal.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Mongolia earlier this year to strengthen Germany's relationship with the nation.

Other countries such as the United Kingdom are also seeking to create more ties with the Asian nation, which is rich in valuable raw materials, such as rare earth metals.

rc, sdi/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)