The main stories…

The in-fighting within the ruling MPP

What happened…

On 23 August, a group of 30 Members of Parliament from the Mongolian People’s Party signed a petition demanding the resignation of the Government of J. Erdenebat, who is also from the MPP.
The petitioners have given a number of reasons explaining why Prime Minister Erdenebat should step down who is accused of breaching the law.
The Government is accused of violating the concession agreements by distributing MNT808 billion to companies where certain MPs have conflict of interest. The MPP, for many years, has been supporting the idea of handing out children’s money and the Government had decided to give this money to all children without exception, but the Prime Minister in violation of the law on budget distributed the money. Furthermore, the Government is going back on many of the pre-election promises, which is unacceptable, according to the petitioners.
The Speaker of the Parliament M. Enkhbold was absent and according to the law, the petition was handed to Ya. Sanjmyatav, Vice Speaker of the Parliament from the Democratic Party.
T. Ayürsaikhan, MP from the MPP, one of the initiators of the demand, after handing the petition, expressed the confidence that “The demand of the Members of Parliament, who have taken oath of office in the name of vital national interests and for justice, would be supported.”

MP T. Ayürsaikhan, 3rd from right, together with some of the MPP Members of Parliament handing the petition to Ys. Sanjmyatav, Vice Speaker of the Parliament, the petition demands the resignation of the Prime Minister

Who said what …

D. Khayankhirvaa, MP and Leader of the MPP Caucus in the Parliament: “To put it straight, state and government actions will not make progress unless we straighten out misunderstanding within the party. Why, because, if one of these two men (meaning the Prime Minister and the Deputy PM. TMO), who have diametrically opposite views, becomes the PM and the other man is forced to step down as PM, then the new PM will be pushed out very soon. If there is proper understanding, either of these two men are capable of performing. Therefore, I really would not like to see internal political contradiction to be spilled out into politics.”
Ya. Sanjmyatav, MP and Vice Speaker of Parliament: “As an individual and a senior DP member, it would be redundant for me to give an assessment ofthis matter. This matter must be taken up since 30 of the 65 MPP members in the Parliament have signed the petition. The last Presidential election has already given marks to the actions of the Government. But at this time, when the situation is bad, I do not want to either say bad or good things about the Government.”
L. Oyün-Erdene, MP (MPP), one of the 30 MP who signed the petition: “30 MPs have signed the petition because they feel that the Government must step down. Not all these 30 MPs can become Cabinet Ministers. This Government, appointed by a party with an overwhelming majority of 65 seats in the Parliament, has the power to perform wonders. But the Government did not live up to our expectations. Internationally, if a Government’s rating falls below 50 percent, that Government resigns on its own initiative. Our people have given their assessment of our Government. It must now apologize to the people and step down.”
MP and Minister of Justice S. Byambatsogt: “I don’t want to discourage my comrades. I have been saying over and again that we cannot betray those who had voted for us. Regrettably, today not our opposition forces, but our comrades from our party caucus with one and the same objective and cause have raised the question of seeking the resignation of the Government.”
D. Terbishdagva, MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Economic Standing Committee (He has not signed the petition): Our party has been infected with the grouping and factional disease, rampant within DP and this infection has now come out in the open.  This bodes evil. We have the possibility not to repeat other’s mistake and not to follow in their path. The more there is infighting in the ruling party, the bigger the obstacle will be for the progress forward. This is because we would be wasting our time and effort more on infighting than on creation and development.
J. Enkhbayar, MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Policy and Security Standing Committee (MPP): “The question around Erdenet (copper mine. TMO) has not been resolved to date. I will not reconcile with the fact that the Government has ‘distributed’ amongst itself the 800 billion tögrög under the name of concession agreement. If we can sell the state with money then the faith and confidence of the people in the state will wane and wither away. This would be a grave crime committed against the state. It is high time we cleaned the state of these dirt. I am not interested in any high government office. It’s high time the Mongolian state remained a state, and a political party as a real party.”
B. Bat-Erdene, MP and Minister of Defense: “Seeking accountability from the Government and seeking it resignation is an open issue in countries with Parliamentary system. In the past, many Governments had been made accountable for their actions. This time, 30 MPs have signed a petition demanding that the Government step down. As a Cabinet Member, I can say that in the past one year the Government has worked quite well. In particular, concrete actions have been taken to stabilize the economy and ensure growth. The first outcome of these efforts can already be seen and felt.”

What next….

In a latest development on Tuesday, 29 August, when the MPP caucus in the Parliament met for their meeting to discuss the matter, it was revealed that a senior MPP member, Vice Speaker of Parliament, MP Ts. Nyamdorj has also joined the petitioners signing the resignation petition, thus bringing the total number of MPP MPs to 31.
A decision is awaited from the 9 MPs from the Democratic Party, it is yet unclear if they will sign the petition or not. Should they sign, then this would mean 40 MP or a majority of members of State Ikh Khural. This would make it incumbent on the Parliament Speaker to convene an emergency session and put the petition to vote. The DP has set up a working group to look into the matter after which they have indicated they would make their decision public, and when this edition was going to the print, the DP had not yet announced its decision.
According to a Parliamentary by-law, the Parliamentary State Affairs Standing Committee must discuss the petition demanding the resignation of the Government within one week after its submission, and a Special Session of the Parliament must be called within 14 days.
 At the time when this edition of The Mongolian Observer was going to the print, the Standing Committee had not yet met. We shall report back on the decision related to the Government’s resignation through our website.

UPDATE: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on State Affairs met on … and with a one vote margin the members of the Standing Committee voted against the motion that the incumbent Government should resign. However, one of the senior members of the MPP in the Parliament Ts. Nyamdorj, on the day the Standing Committee met and at the session signed the petition demanding the resignation of the J. Erdenebat Government. The DP Parliamentary Caucus, at its meeting, also decided to join the petitioners and its chairman has said that the Government should resign. On 6 September, the Mongolian Parliament held a special session to consider the fate of the Erdenebat Government. Prior to this, the MPP Parliamentary Caucus met once again to consider the matter and …

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The conflict between the PM and Vice PM

Deputy Prime Minister U. Khü-relsükh tendered his resignation and is reported to have also vacated his office in the Government House. A senior member of the Mongolian People’s Party Khürelsükh had also walked out from the MPP Steering Committee
This conflict between Khürelsükh and his boss – the Prime Minister, has now come out in the open. According to observers, the conflict arose from the allegations Khürelsükh has been claiming saying that he is being “shadowed” and also because of the so-called “Case of 60 billion” – a secret deal the top MPP leaders (MPP Chairman and Parliament Speaker M. Enkhbold, Speaker of the Ulaanbaatar City Local Assembly and former Chairman of the UB city MPP Committee Ts. Sandui. TMO) were hatching to raise 60 billion tögrög by “selling off” high government offices after the General Elections (2016). There were unconfirmed reports in the media that the portfolios of ministers, the posts of Vice Ministers, State Secretaries, Chairpersons of government agencies and even heads of departments and sections, all had a price tag and were actually “sold” to all those who were interested.
Deputy Prime Minister Khürelsükh, who had claimed that people were following him secretly, ultimately turned out to be people “planted” by Khürelsükh himself. Prime Minister J. Erdenebat had announced publicly that he would go to the law enforcing agencies, as an individual, to seek clarification to this allegation, who denied he had “planted” the shadows to sneak after Khürelsükh.
Recently, the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC), at a press briefing, made a sensational statement saying that the “agents shadowing Khürelsükh” were his own relatives and therefore criminal investigation will be conducted against the Deputy Prime Minister himself. This was a strange twist of events. However U. Khürelsükh was seen coming to attend the MPP Parliamentary Caucus meeting held on 28 August to consider the petition of the 30 MPs from the party demanding the resignation of the Erdenebat Government.
President Kh. Battulag, who had been submitted a memo seeking his approval for granting request for relieving the Deputy Prime Minister from office, as per the law, has responded noting that the request cannot be fulfilled as he does not have sufficient evidence to approve the request.
There were reports that U. Khürelsükh had a long-term plan – to become the MPP Chairman, which he denied at first, but the other day he has told a daily newspaper that he would persistently fight for the post of the Chairman of the MPP, which is expected to have its conference and Congress in September this year.

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