It is becoming even harder for the younger generation to choose between politicians these days, as those politicians are failing to address their needs.
In Mongolia, the public’s trust in politics, politicians and political parties is almost zero. Populism is on the rise.
Recently I took an interest in Australian politics and found a recent survey that showed similar trends to Mongolia; only 55 percent of Australians under the age of 30 say they prefer democracy to an alternative.
There are five main reasons why I believe Gen Z and millennials in Mongolia, like those in Australia, are becoming dissatisfied with democracy.
1. High turnover in leadership
In the history of many countries, presidents, prime ministers, and speakers of parliament change frequently. In the past, the reasons for this were retirement, illness, sudden death, election defeat, or succession. However, in modern times, the main reason is simply resignation.
Younger Mongolians don’t like this at all.
2. Unready political parties to govern
Surprised, disappointed, or angry Mongolian voters seem to have little choice but to support a new political party or politician. However, these politicians can often be unprepared: they lack a common vision and plans to cooperate with each other, let alone to develop the country.
There’s also a tendency for voters to support ‘toughness’ over democracy (see IRI’s survey below). This will be the biggest challenge for the leaders of new political parties and forces in Mongolia for the next presidential election in June 2021.
Source: Poll of young Mongolians by International Republic Institute, May-June 2020
3. The impact of social media
Radio in the 1930s and 1940s, a television in the 60s and 70s, and the Internet in the 90s and 2000s all shook global politics. Today, politicians need to master and succeed in the three spheres of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They need to overcome fake news, slander and insults.
Mongolian politicians are masterful in ‘black PR’ campaigns during the elections.
Negative campaigns amplified by social media turn off Gen Z and millennials.
4. Civil society’s metamorphosis
Civil society has become more crucial than ever and is now driven by internet activism and social media’s organizing powers. But some political strategists have hacked civil movements for their own narrow goals and are manipulating various NGOs to hurt the electoral chances of their opponents.
Reportedly, our parliament house has the highest concentration of NGO leaders in Mongolia.
Hopefully, this will change and youth activism will be channelled through real civil society.
5. Deterioration and renaissance of political and social classes
In Mongolia, young people who have never been in politics "from the beginning", who have never flattered a higher ranking politician, but who are directly involved in political parties and political figures, seem to have little chance of being elected.
Many young people say that more people dislike newcomers, more people don't accept opposition, and more factions are emerging in politics.
Unfortunately, all these groups do not unite to win and implement their platforms, but simply to defeat the other side. As a result, Gen Z and millennials are not really into politics and stay away from political parties.
In short, it is becoming more and more difficult for young people to find a politician who will meet their needs and inspire them to take political action.
The question of how to fix this issue remains open and must be solved before populism erodes democracy in Mongolia.
Ganzorig is the founder of a boutique PR agency (Bat Solutions) in Mongolia. He is also a Vice-President of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and President of CEO Club Mongolia. He's a frequent public speaker and a host of a talk show "Syndicate Talk with Vinzo."
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