Namsrai Bayar, CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY,
Course: Political behavior- public opinion-
empirical democratic process
Fall semester 2000/2001
Process of political change in Mongolia during transitional period (1990-2000)
The establishment of formal institutes of democracy and political freedom were swift and bloodless, following the start of democratic protest and reform in 1990. The ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) showed enough foresight and pragmatism avoid any bloodshed, instituted constitutional amendments to allow multi-party elections, and then adopted a new democratic constitution in January of 1992. Mongolia has held 4 parliamentary and 3 presidential elections since 1990, which were accepted as free, democratic and fair. The first competitive parliamentary elections, held in 1990, were contested by 6 political parties. Today there are over 20 political parties functioning in Mongolia. In the report I would like to show process of political changes in Mongolia within the context of economic reforms during last decade.
Coalition government and economic shock therapy, 1990-1992
Changes in Soviet policy in the middle of 1980s generated by glasnost and perestroika had impact on changes in policy orientations of Mongolia. Soviet Union began to withdraw some troops stationed in Mongolia under agreement on mutual military assistance. Economic and technical assistance of Soviet Union, amounted more than 30 percents of Mongolia’s gross domestic product, had diminished substantively. In new situation, Mongolia had no choice but change economic orientations. In1987, Mongolia initiated diplomatic relations with the USA and negotiated protocols for trade and scientific cooperation with China. Simultaneously, public unrest with existing state establishment has grown, demonstrations and meetings of mass protest, requiring abolition of one-party system and planned economy in a favor of multi-party system and market economy, resulted resignation of communist hard-liners’ leadership of Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party /MPRP/ and call for free multi-party elections.
New leadership of MPRP proclaimed itself as a follower of Mongolian national idea and supporter of reform, democracy and human rights. Its tactics brought success to MPRP in first competitive multi-party parliamentary elections in July of 1990. MPRP received about 60% of the popular vote. The opposition democratic wing parties received combined 35% of votes, and it would be considered as a success of democratic forces. The way, which new elected parliament was formed, reflected transitional stage of process of democratic reforms. The elections were accomplished under old, communist constitution: parliament (People’s Great Hural) was not functioning on permanent basis, having session twice a year for a short period. Between sessions, functions of parliament were substituted by Presidium, members of which were appointed by leadership of communist party. In fact, the parliament played minor role comparing with the dominant communist party. New, multi-party system required substantial corrections to such state of things. Therefore, the role of permanent functioning parliament was provisionally fulfilled by “Small Chamber”(Baga Hural)- an institutional body, elected from members of parliament on the proportional basis.
New government enthusiastically pursued reform; it tolerated other opposition parties and appointed opposition experts, especially economists, on top executive positions in administration. The government launched a program of wide-scale privatization. But privatization did not proceed as anticipated. The implementation of privatization plan was poor managed, ineffective and corrupt. Moreover, reformers, recruited from opposition parties, engaged in financial speculation that resulted in the huge loss of more than 80% of the country’s foreign currency reserves. Soviet...
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