Mongolia Considers an Early Election Later This Year
In response to public criticism over costs in conducting the constitutional referendum (~$10m), the ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP) reportedly discussed potentials of conducting an early election at the same time in October or November, the dates of which would be finalised next week.
By law, 51 MPs out of 76 are required to vote to disband the parliament and call for a snap election, which never happened in Mongolian democracy before.
Several news outlets claimed that 47 lawmakers from the MPP, mostly from pro-Khurelsukh camp, already signed a petition requesting an early election.
Prime Minister Khurelsukh, who is not an MP, was reported to be behind the petition because of his top-rating among politicians as per the recent poll.
Most of the pro-Enkhbold lawmakers did not support the petition and said it could lead to a political disaster suggesting that a rift between two factions within MPP still exists.
Parliament Speaker Zandanshatar (his name was not among 47 MPs) did not rule out early election rumours and thought it might save costs if the referendum and the elections were held at the same time.
The Speaker also feared lower voter turnout during the referendum because of the weather condition in October-November and difficulty in reaching out to remote areas. MPP's Secretary-General Amarbayasgalan said that if the parliament decides the party was ready to convene in preparation to the snap election.
The constitutional referendum requires 50% voter turnout to be valid. Mongolian voters are usually active during the general elections in June and the last time during the presidential elections in 2017 the turnout was almost 70%.
The opposition parties supported an early election. However, it is still doubtful whether it would benefit the MPP, which controls the parliament in spite of internal division.
Additionally, combining referendum and an early election will not likely save costs because regular general elections are required by law every four years, which means there will be parliamentary elections next June whether there is a snap election November or not.
The parliament is also racing against the legal deadline to announce the election 60 days before the voting day.
The key thing to watch here is that MPP doesn't want to see the upcoming referendum ending poorly since the constitutional reform was its signature election campaign promise in 2016.
Related: President Battulga before leaving for India visit issued a veto on the constitutional reform decree arguing that lawmakers breached the rules of procedure and the June-September parliamentary debates were illegal. MPP lawmakers will likely override a presidential veto.
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