UNPRECEDENTED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Mongolia, since 1992, after it adopted its new democratic Constitution, had had six Presidential elections and never was there a run-off like the Presidential election in 2017.
And never was the voter turn out so-low even though the election budget was the highest since the first Presidential election in 1993. The voter turn out in the 2017 Presidential election was 66.54 percent from the total 1,978,298 eligible voters, and a budget of MNT14 billion 900 million.
There were three candidates – Miyegombo Enkhbold, the incumbent Parliament Speaker from the Mongolian People’s Party (who was confident in his victory), Khaltmaa Battulag, a businessman from the Democratic Party and Sainkhüü Ganbaatar, a populist politician from the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, who was considered an underdog but when the preliminary results started filtering in, Mr. Ganbaatar’s result started worrying the MPP as M. Enkhbold was trailing behind in the third place with the DP candidate as a favorite.
The results of the three candidates were not much different, especially the candidates from the MPP and the MPRP, which was formed and took up the name of the MPRP after the former communist party took away the word “Revolutionary” to become the Mongolian People’s Party (see the graph). The MPP candidate won with just 0.13 percent over the candidate from the MPRP, who at midnight was actually leading with more than 10 thousand votes. When the final returns were announced by the election commissioning, declaring MPP candidate M. Enkhbold as the runner up, the MPRP started crying foul but to no avail.
However, the MPRP leaders thanked the voters for their ‘overwhelming’ support which gave the MPRP the right to be a ‘reckoning’ political force in the country.
Although the DP candidate had won, he had secured only a little more than 38 percent of the votes, which made a run-off imminent and yet another chance for the over-confident MPP candidate M. Enkhbold, who hoped that luck was on his side and perhaps his party would be voted in to run the Presidency.
The run-off was held on 7 July – the country had to have a President before 11 July when the nation celebrated the revolution anniversary and the Naadam Games, which is inaugurated by the Head of State.
The run-off was one between a “heavy weight” and a “light weight” as some observers characterized the Presidential election of 2017.
The “light weight” once again won the majority of the votes, leaving behind his opponent with more than 100 thousand votes, which is not small in a country with a small population.
Khaltmaa Battulag was elected as the 5th President of Mongolia. At the oath-taking ceremony, Battulag declared ” “I shall be the President who respects unity and national interest; I shall be a President who safeguards freedom and justice, and respect fellow citizens; I shall be the President who will revive the economy and develop the industry; I shall be the President who guarantees ecological balance and protects the land; and I shall be the President who will start a new era of export and who will promote equitable foreign relations.”