Fri, Jul 01, 2016 - Page 6 News List

MPP back in power after landslide election victory

CLEAR BLAME:The election result is evidence that the public blamed the outgoing Democratic Party for the nation’s recent economic woes, one analyst said

Reuters, ULAN BATOR

A newspaper yesterday shows the results of parliamentary elections inside the headquarters of the Mongolian People’s Party in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Photo: Reuters

The main opposition Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) swept back to power in landslide parliamentary elections, results from Mongolia’s election committee showed, after campaigning dominated by concern over slowing economic growth.

The transformation of the former Soviet bloc state since a peaceful revolution in 1990 has been a big draw for foreign investors eyeing its rich mineral resources, unleashing a boom from 2010 to 2012.

However, an abrupt economic slowdown since 2012 has stirred controversy over the role of global mining firms such as Rio Tinto, which last month finally approved a US$5.3 billion extension plan for the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.

The MPP’s victory is likely to be greeted as a tailwind for the economy and international miners, as the party’s success in attracting investors when it last held power, from 2008 to 2012, led to the country being nicknamed “Mine-golia.”

The MPP, which has governed for most years since the revolution, won an 85 percent majority with 65 seats in the 76-member parliament, taking back power from the Democratic Party, an unnamed official from Mongolia’s general election committee told a news conference.

The ruling Democratic Party won nine seats in Wednesday’s vote, down from 37.

Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg, and the parliament’s chairman, Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, were among those kicked out of their seats.

“The Mongolian People’s Party’s landslide win shows the public assigning clear blame for the country’s economic woes to the outgoing Democratic Party government,” John Marrett, an analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said in an e-mailed statement.

A late change of election rules hindered independents and small parties during the short 18-day campaign period.

One seat went to the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, and one to an independent, popular folk singer Samand Javkhlan, who has taken up environmental causes.

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