Dominance by Default: Political Finance and the Political Party System in Mongolia

By Dagvyn Enkhtsetseg and Altankhuyagyn Bat-Orgil

Since the adoption of the country’s first democratic constitution in 1992, Mongolia has held 16 national elections (8 parliamentary and 8 presidential) and boasts a steady track record of peaceful transitions of power. Sandwiched between the world’s two largest authoritarian regimes, Mongolia’s electoral achievements have earned it the reputation of being an ‘oasis of democracy’. However, the results of the 2020 and 2021 national elections have prompted concerns about the future of multiparty parliamentary democracy in the country. Following the landslide victory of the former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) Khurelsukh Ukhnaa in the country’s 2021 presidential election, press reports covering Mongolian politics questioned whether the country was heading toward one-party rule (Byambasuren, 2021; Lkhaajav, 2021). The year before (2020), Khurelsukh’s party had won control of parliament with 62 of 76 seats. It was MPP’s second consecutive landslide victory, following its 2016 electoral victory that also gave the party a parliamentary supermajority. While it is certainly unprecedented in Mongolia for a political party to secure a parliamentary supermajority in two consecutive electoral contests, the outcomes of the past legislative elections shows a clear pattern of dominance. Rather than heralding another era of one-party rule, the recent landslide victories of the incumbent MPP may be viewed as a more crystalized manifestation of a pattern that has been in the making over the past three decades. This chapter will argue that the rules governing political finance and the ‘winner takes all’electoral system …

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