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Mongolian Empire

The Mongolian state was founded in 1203 under the leadership of Genghis Khan. His descendants conquered a large territory, of which the conquests of Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, and the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty in China (1279-1368) are the most notorious. The Mongol Empire stretched from Korea to Hungary. It features in the stories of Marco Polo and other travellers of the time as the China of the Mongols. However, the empire collapsed after only a few decades.

Outer region of China

From the 17th century onwards, Mongolia was ruled by China as a foreign country. From 1912 to 1919, it was an autonomous state under Russian protectorate, and from 1919 to 1921, again a Chinese province. In 1921, Soviet troops and Mongolian soldiers captured the capital Ulaanbaatar (then called Ulan Bator) and in August of that year, Mongolia declared independence. When the theocratic ruler, the eighth Living Buddha, died in 1924, the search for his reincarnated successor was prohibited. In the same year, the Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed, the second largest Marxist-Leninist state in the world after the Soviet Union. The leading party was the communist Mongolian People's Party (MPP), which was renamed the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) in 1925. With the arrival of Stalin in 1924, Soviet influence increased further. Mongolia suffered a real reign of terror from the communists, especially against the Buddhist monks and later against the Buddhist monasteries. Thousands of monks were arrested and put to death.

Formally independent

Although formally independent, Mongolia was closely linked to the Soviet Union politically and economically from 1924 onwards. The economy was organised according to the principles of central planning, and the country was turned into a supplier of raw materials to the Soviet Union. In exchange, Moscow took care of the chronic deficit in the trade balance and the budget, and on concessional terms provided consumer goods and all the fuel the country needed. This situation, which formed the basis of the Mongolian economy, came to an abrupt end in early 1991 when Moscow cut off the flow of subsidies. The Soviet Union ended its financial and technical support as well as all exports on soft terms and demanded payment in hard currency for its exports to Mongolia. This was preceded in December 1989 by the formation of the Mongolian Democratic Union (MDU). This political movement emerged from the student demonstrations that had started that month. It demanded a multi-party democracy. A hunger strike by eleven MDU supporters led to the fall of the communist government in March 1990.

On 2 July 2000, the former communists, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), won a very large majority (73 out of 76 seats) in the parliamentary elections. The MPRP presents itself as a social democratic party. The new government was installed on 10 August 2000 under the leadership of the MRPP chairman, Nambar Enkhbayar.

Periodd Enkhbayar

In December 2000, five political parties merged and the New Democratic Party (NDP) was born. The influence of the former Communists and signs of popular discontent with the social consequences of market economy reforms resulted in the election, and in May 2001 re-election, of Natsagiyn Bagabandi (Chairman of the former Communist Party) as President. The presidential election of 22 May 2005 was won by MPRP candidate Nambaryn Enkhbayar.

On 27 June 2004, parliamentary elections were again held in Mongolia. Due to the country's relatively short experience with free elections, EU Missions in Mongolia monitored and evaluated the elections closely (Note: no EU Election Observation Mission was deployed). Contrary to expectations, the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) suffered a significant loss in the 27 June 2004 elections. After the elections, the final results were delayed for some time because two seats were contested. The final result, however, was 37 seats for the MPRP and 35 seats for the Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP), the coalition of democratic parties.

Despite major contradictions and strong political clashes, the two large blocs finally formed a coalition government at the end of September, which was officially presented on 1 October 2004. The prime minister was Ts. Elbegdorj (who had also been Prime Minister in 1998), while former Prime Minister Enkhbayar became President of the Parliament. Enkhbayar won the presidential elections on 22 May 2005 as the MPRP candidate. The coalition government fell on 12 January 2006 after the MPRP withdrew its trust for not doing enough to fight corruption. The fall of the government, seen as artificial, led to large protests and the occupation of the parliament building by angry demonstrators. On 28 January a new cabinet took office, consisting of ministers from the MPRP, MDC, Motherland Party, People's Party and the Republican Party. In April 2006, Sukhbaatar Square in Ulan Bataar was the scene of several large demonstrations.

There were also hunger strikes and even self-immolation. The dissatisfaction that was expressed focused on the mining deal (an investment of between USD 1.3 and 1.5 billion) with the Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines, which was seen as very unfavourable, and the alleged corrupt practices of the Mongolian president. In early September 2006, the ruling MPRP party won the by-elections and partial elections, so that the MPRP now has an absolute majority in parliament with 39 of the 76 seats. On 26 October 2006, Prime Minister Enkhbold (MPRP) survived a vote of no confidence in the parliament following the alleged acceptance of bribes in his previous position as mayor of the capital in large-scale land sales projects in Ulan Bataar.

Despite all the unrest, the reform process is expected to continue. Mongolia is on the way to becoming a mature democracy. The reform strategy is aimed at achieving macroeconomic stability. Central to this are: reducing inflation, reducing the size of the state sector and promoting the development of the private sector.

There are growing concerns about the persistence of corruption, which is mainly due to the strong conflict of interests between the political, public and private sectors. Politicians often own private companies and senior officials are often members of their minister's political party. Corruption is particularly prevalent in the mining and agricultural sectors. According to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, Mongolia fell from place 85 (2005) to place 99 (2006). The new government has (again) made the fight against corruption a government priority.

Recent history

In November 2007, Enkhbold resigned, to be replaced by MPRP leader Sanj Bayar. In July 2008, President Enkhbayar declared a state of emergency following riots that erupted after the opposition accused the government of rigging the elections. In May 2009, opposition candidate Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj won the presidential election by a narrow margin. In October 2009, MPRP Prime Minister Sanjagiin Bayar resigned for health reasons. Foreign Minister Sukhbaataryn Batbold succeeded him. In October 2013, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdor again wins the presidential election. In November 2014, Prime Minister Altankhuyag was voted out of office by parliament and succeeded by Chimed Saikhanbileg. In the parliamentary elections of June 2016, the Mongolian Peoples Party won overwhelmingly. In July 2017, businessman and former martial arts star Khaltmaa Battugla won the presidential election. After the parliamentary elections in June 2020, the MPP still has the upper hand in parliament. Mongolians elected former prime minister and MPP member Ukhnaa Khurelsukh as president in 2021.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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