Why Elbegdorj Shouldn't be Ignored

Elbegdorj on "Red Pen" talk show

Ex-president Elbegdorj has become very vocal in the past few weeks criticizing China over language and culture issuesin Inner Mongolia. He even wrote a letter addressed to Xi Jingpin, which was 'politely' returned by the Chinese Ambassador because Elbegdorj had 'incorrect ideas'.

Elbegdorj also appeared on popular talk shows like "Red Pen" generating more than 500,000 views indicating that he's not done yet with politics after stepping down from the presidency 3 years ago.

His key narrative: Mongolia is sliding back from democracy and a liberal market economy after 30 years of the democratic transition.

And current leaders (namely President Battulga and PM Khurelsukh) are desiring an authoritarian regime similar to China and Russia. 

When he returned to Mongolia this April, Elbegdorj announced that he would do everything to vote out Battulga next year. 

But following DP's failure in the parliamentary election this June, Elbegdorj's footing might have further weakened.He's increasingly viewed as a liability in the upcoming local and presidential elections. He is still one the most hated politiciansin the latest opinion polls.

On the other hand, Battulga has been actively involved in the selection of the Democratic party's next leader, which is scheduled in November.

Technically, Elbegdorj is unqualified to run for the presidential race because he has already served two terms and had a long lapse in living abroad last year (presidential candidate should be living in the country for 5 years continuously).

Additionally and it is going to be the most important disqualifier for Elbegdorj - he is expected to be arrested in coming weeks or months (he didn't that possibility at the talk show) over abuse power in giving the green light on the Erdenet copper mine transaction and attempted sale of Tavan Tolgoi coal mine to the Chinese Shenhua - the deal that never happened.

And Cabinet Secretary Oyun-Erdene also accuses Elbegdorj of receiving kickbacks from copper concentrate sales from Erdenet Mining when he was president for 8 years.

However, Elbegdorj shouldn't be ignored and he's trying to comeback to the politics himself and/or with his team.

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