Mongolia's Democratic Party Choses Gantumur as New Leader with Focus on 2024 Elections
Mongolia's opposition Democratic Party (DP) chose on January 19, 2023, Luvsannyamyn Gantumur, a former Education Minister and member of the centrist faction, as its new leader. He has pledged to focus on the 2024 parliamentary elections and to revive the party's image and popularity.
The selection process involved extensive internal dialogue and negotiations to reconcile the party's divisions.
Gantumur, a veteran of government and civil society, has pledged to prioritize electoral reform and restore democracy in the country through fair and transparent processes. He is expected to lead the party towards a more moderate, liberal stance and focus on a liberal agenda for the 2024 election in Mongolia.
Fluent in Japanese and educated in Japan as an engineer, Gantumur also aims to improve Mongolia's relations with Tokyo.
However, Gantumur's selection to the Democratic Party's leader was not without controversy. His main rival, former Finance Minister Sangajavyn Bayartsogt, was seen as representing big business interests and had ties to multinational corporations. There were also concerns raised about his purported Chinese origin.
In addition, the right-wing faction led by former President Khaltmaagiin Battulga boycotted the leadership contest, leading to rumors that Battulga may split and form a new right-wing political party or alliance based on his motto "Mongols Win."
Former DP leader Erdene called the leadership contest illegal, but the Supreme Court accepted the voting outcome and registered Gantumur as the new opposition leader.
The DP is a center-right political party formed in 2000 from the merger of five pro-democratic political parties. In the 2020 elections, the DP won only 11 seats out of 76 parliamentary seats, despite enjoying the support of almost one-fourth of the voters.
The DP headed the government twice, from 1996 to 2000 and from 2012 to 2016. Since the 2020 defeat the DP has been plagued by internal divisions and corruption scandals, and has faced for its populist and nationalist rhetoric.
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