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  • Writer's pictureAmar Adiya

Mongolia's Prime Minister Offers Cooperation to Opposition After Election Victory

The parliament re-appointed  Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene as Prime Minister of Mongolia on July 5, 2024. 103 out of the 104 members of parliament present and voting supported his reappointment.

Despite the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) winning a third-term majority on June 28, Oyun-Erdene invited the opposition Democratic Party (DP) and HUN to join his cabinet calling it as "cabinet of cooperation" or "joint government" in challenging times.

Prime Minister re-appointed after Mongolia election

Various forms of coalition governments have been experimented with in Mongolia, and now Oyun-Erdene appears to be seeking a more flexible and informal power-sharing arrangement.

Instead of forming a formal coalition, the MPP has extended an invitation to the Democratic Party (DP) and the HUN to participate in the new government after Mongolia election.

A crucial distinction lies in the reluctance to establish a formal coalition, as this would limit the opposition, particularly the DP, in engaging in official legislative procedures like caucus meetings and holding deputy speakership positions, which the DP is keen on retaining.

This MPP move met with mixed reactions. Some people believe that the MPP should take full responsibility and govern alone. DP and HUN party leaders are inclined to cooperate, while many seem to be still hesitant, partly due to past bad memories associated with coalition governments in the 2010s.

In his confirmation speech, Oyun-Erdene skillfully framed the joint government as essential for enacting bold reforms and achieving a "new 30 years" of progress for Mongolia. He acknowledged the public's demand for change, particularly concerning corruption, and emphasized the historic diversity of the newly elected parliament, arguing that this "second wave" of democracy necessitates a more collaborative approach to governance.

To bolster his case, Oyun-Erdene outlined an ambitious agenda encompassing energy liberalization, regional development (i.e. reversing migration flow to Ulaanbaatar), and operationalizing the National Wealth Fund - key campaign promises to address income inequality.

By highlighting these priorities, he subtly underscored the limitations of a simple MPP majority and positioned the coalition as a pragmatic necessity for overcoming political gridlock. He appealed to national unity, framing "the joint government" as a means to tackle complex socio-economic challenges through a shared vision for Mongolia's future.

However, this joint governing gamble carries risks. The opposition parties, DP and HUN, are yet to align on their response the Prime Minister's offer. At any moment, they have the option to decline Oyun-Erdene's invitation or withdraw from the joint government, which could result in instability in governance.

Furthermore, Oyun-Erdene faces a tight timeline to form his government before the Naadam holidays (July 10-15) disrupt negotiations. He must finalize a joint cooperation agreement with the opposition, balance competing interests, and navigate the complexities of cabinet appointments while facing mounting pressure for clarity and decisive action.

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