• Amar Adiya

2020 Race Begins

The General Election Committee (GEC) proposed to conduct the parliamentary election on June 24 (Wed), which is expected to be finalized by the parliament in February. It would likely to be also a public holiday to increase voter turnout.

Once the Election Day is approved talks around who will run in 2020 elections, how the voting districts would be divided and how campaigns should be financed would intensify.

Electoral districts and mandates are getting a lot of attention while some pointed to the fairness and equality of the proposed distribution of electoral districts and mandates, which could reduce the number of Ulaanbaatar MPs from 28 to 24 while half of the population resides in the capital city.

The ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP) is proposing to increase provincial seats in the parliament at the expense of Ulaanbaatar (UB) seats from 48 to 52 reflecting representation of provinces and their size of territories. Opposition parties disapproved the idea. Conventional thinking has been that the MPP is usually more popular in provinces and with the elders while the Democratic Party (DP) has more appeal in the urban areas and with the younger voters, whose turnout is lower than older voters.

Another hot topic related to the election was the announcement by MPP's secretary-general Amarbayasgalan, who said that the party will not get direct financing from candidates in order to separate politics from money. Few people believed in his statement and some thought that MPP's fundraising will get more secretive as money tracking is problematic in the country.

Mr Amarbayasgalan also said that PM Khurelsukh wants to see 'clean' and 'popular' candidates running from the MPP hinting MPs implicated in recent corruption scandals (e.g. SME fund, 60 billion scheme) would be off the nomination list.

The MPP doesn't have open primaries and candidate nomination is decided by the steering council (read: internal bosses of various factions) and usually rubber-stamped by the party convention, which is expected to happen in mid-March. It's not clear whether embattled ex-speaker Enkhbold and his faction would succeed in getting Khurelsukh's blessing to run. Official nomination process and list of candidates would likely be disclosed only in May. 

The opposition DP is expected to conduct selections of candidates in late March or early April. The party has collected donations from presumptive candidates and received the first tranche of the MNT 100m from each candidate.

Almost 500 candidates ran in the 2016 elections from a dozen of political parties.