Mongolia opposition secures landslide victory in parliamentary elections
Mongolia’s leftist opposition party has secured a sweeping victory in parliamentary elections, as the central Asian country is wrestling with a crippling economic crisis since 2008.
According to a statement released by the General Election Commission of Mongolia on Thursday, the People’s Party (MPP) managed to grab 65 out of the 76 seats of the parliament, known as the State Great Khural, in the Wednesday elections.
The outgoing grand coalition led by the ruling Democratic party (DP) suffered a huge blow. The DP had 38 seats in the legislature ahead of the national elections, including the one filled by incumbent Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg, who also failed to be re-elected as a parliamentarian.
Along with MPP and DP, ten more parties and 69 independent candidates, including singers and wrestlers, were also vying to make their way into the parliament.
The ruling DP was under fire by independent critics and the MPP alike for its alleged incompetence in developing the economy, improving the country’s educational and healthcare systems, generating much-needed jobs, and repaying foreign debts.
In March, the rating agency Moody’s gave the country a gloomy outlook, citing the mounting debt burden, a projected widening of budgetary imbalances and mining revenue shortfalls.
Mongolia, landlocked between Russia to the north and China to the south, is rich in natural resources, including huge deposits of copper, coal and gold, which are mainly exported to China, the country’s largest trading partner and investor. The country, however, desperately attempts to monetize its natural resources amid slumping demand for commodities from China.
The outgoing government has so far failed to fill the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and according to the latest figures, about one-third of Mongolians now live in poverty.