Mistakes and Rightness of the Democratic Union Coalition
Mongolia’s Political Chronic of 1996-2000
TV Serial of Seven Parts
Translated from Mongolian by Chinbat Emgen
Part 1. Brand-New Rulers And Opposition Who Was Never Defeated
Aired on March 25, 2000. Duration: 20 minutes
Winning 50 seats in the parliamentary election held on 30 June 1996 by the Democratic Union Coalition, which was consisted of two major opposition parties-Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP) and Mongolian Social Democratic Party (MSDP), was unexpected despite that only E. Bat-Uul, former Secretary General of the Mongolian National Democratic Party predicted that overwhelming success.
This predicted start of encountering many expected problems, many changes and many crucial events. Many of those who were leading the Mongolian democratic movements in 1990 –s and formed the opposition to MPRP- ex-communist party for six years received the mandate of ruling the country within a single day as the result of the election. Issues how to form the new Cabinet and resolve internal organizational structure were raised one after one in hours before the winners, representatives of democratic forces which never ruled the country before.
That is why shortly after the election, two days later the coalition leadership paid a visit to Mr. Ochirbat, Mongolian president and informed on their proposal to appoint Mr. R. Gonchigdorj, Chairman of the Mongolian Social Democratic Party as Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament ( Great State Hural ), Mr. M. Enkhsaikhan, secretary general of the Democratic Union Coalition as Prime Minister of Mongolia and Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj, leader of the MNDP as vice speaker of the Parliament.
The democratic forces who criticized during the past 4 years the government led by Jasrai for their intention to put their faults on the party and Mr. Dash-Yondon, chairman of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) fears to be as ruler of the government despite he was a leader of the ruling party decided to lead the government by the party secretary not by the leader of the Coalition. At that time nobody could guess what kind of event and contradiction was behind this contradictory to its own critics decision.
Meanwhile a price of copper-the main product of Mongolian export- declined unexpectedly at the London stock exchange and the experts said it was a real disaster. However the leaders of the Democratic Union Coalition were too busy with internal issues regarding to win their places, while not caring on economic impact which external and internal environment could offer. One of these issues which had a great impact on events in coming years was an application to the Constitutional court made by S. Lamjav, who failed the parliamentary election while being candidate of Democratic Coalition.
He applied to the Constitutional court on 8 July 1996 saying that the law on the Parliament breaches the Constitution and cited an Article 22 – 1 of the law on the Parliament which says “ If the member of the parliament is appointed as cabinet member he or she will keep the MP’s power. The number of the MP-s to be appointed in the cabinet will not exceed three forth of the cabinet members”. This Article contradicts the Article 29 – 1 “ The MP is not entitled to any position and job which is beyond his legal power”. So he requested the Constitutional court not to repeat mistakes made by the former government and resolve this issue before the new prime minister and other ministries were appointed.
So it was clear that for the Coalition forces an opportunity to have MP-s appointed as cabinet members is to be closed which was legible when the MPRP ruled the government between 1992 – 1996.
The ridiculous event which occurred when the coalition winners were not entitled to legal power was a sudden announcement made by the main newspaper “Ardyn Erkh” and “Zasgiin gazryn medee” to become national free press and work independently not belonging to any government and party. Mr. Baldorj, editor of the “Ardyn Erkh” explained this as an opportunity given by the Democratic Union Coalition to provide freedom to press and media. However it was a crucial attempt to possess state property and own the status of the state newspaper and this was the first attack against the coalition and first shock felt by the losing MPRP which ruled during 75 years and never lost its power.
On 15 July 1996 the MPRP gave a notification on consensus to the leaders of the Democratic Union. There were two proposals, at first, to appoint the vice speaker of the Parliament form the MPRP, at second, to appoint a chairman of the Standing Committee in charge of state matters, finance and monetary issues form the MPRP group.
By that time there were controversial opinions between two parties forming the coalition which were called later as ‘ quarrel on cake ‘ in press and this proposal made by the MPRP caused much trouble. The answer to this proposal was made in a written and oral form and at the press conference and that was not impossible to accept because there is no such a legal ground to do so. It was declared several times but the leaders of the MPRP insisted on their proposal.
17 July 1996. The day earlier before the inauguration ceremony of the Mongolian parliament starts the Constitutional court discussed the request made by Mr. Lamjav and concluded that the Articles 22 –1, 2, 3 of the law on the Parliament violate the Article 29 – 1 of the Constitution of Mongolia. The Constitutional court asked the Parliament which did not open its first session to discuss this matter and reply.
During these hot days when the Coalition forces were too busy the journalists had a plenty of things to do. All journalists, foreign and domestic informed their readers on changes occurred in Mongolia and wrote with proud how the state power transferred from one political force to another with no violence. Mongolia which had chosen democratic forces to rule the country was welcomed by international community with their desire to cooperate and well-known politicians with worldwide reputation expressed their appreciation of the results of the new election. The newly-elected parliament opened its first session on 18 July 1996 and appointed Mr. R. Gonchigdorj as Speaker of the Parliament with 65.3 per cent of votes.
During 6 years passed since the Parliament was founded Mongol people already understood how the Parliament should look like. They had a general understanding what is an opposition force but nobody could imagine how tough would be strong opposition. As the result of 1996 election the breakdown of the Parliament between political parties were 50, 25 and 1 and the Democratic Union Coalition had almost enough seats which enabled it to hold a Parliament session. But they need one more seat to do so.
In accordance with the legislation the Parliament has 76 seats and the MNDP had 50 and the MPRP won 25 while the Mongolian Conservative party had one seat. The issue on validity of the Parliament session is stated in the Article 27 of the Constitution and the Article 4 of the law of the Parliament session procedure. In according to these Articles the Parliament session shall be considered valid if two third of the MP-s or members more than 51 attended the session.
This quorum or attendance minimum of the session is used in many countries and in comparison with 82 parliaments the highest is our parliament attendance among 4 countries. In many countries attendance minimum is considered as majority which means 50 per cent plus 1. In France which is considered as cradle of democracy there is no minimum attendance.
The second issue on the agenda of the first session of the Mongolian parliament was appointment of the vice speaker of the parliament. The MPRP which lost the election informed on its aborted intention to appoint from the MPRP and walked out.
In this way the session of the parliament distorted form the beginning and there were other distortions which were caused by this new system. The next day the session discussed the nomination of Mr. M. Enkhsaikhan for the position of the Prime Minister.
On this session Mr. O. Dashbalbar asked Mr. M. Enkhsaikhan, nominee for the Prime Minister “ You and your people always say that the chairman of the winning party should become the Prime Minister. If so Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj would be nominated. Why your coalition went back from this direction?”
Conclusion: The first mistake made by the Democratic Union Coalition was going back form their thoughts.
Mr. Enkhsaikhan, the first Prime Minister of the Coalition was appointed on that day and for the first time the cabinet stamp was transferred from one political force to another. At the same time there were hot issues on reasons of walk out from the session by the MPRP group and forming the cabinet. The dispute on appointment of the vice speaker of the Parliament expanded and Mr. Ochirbat, Mongolian president met R. Gonchigdorj, Ts. Elbegdorj and N. Bagabandi. During this meeting they agreed to come into consensus and nominate people from each party for a vice speaker’s position. But Mr. Bagabandi, leader of MPRP group, did not accept this suggestion and insisted on appointing a vice speaker only from the MPRP.
The coalition people explained that it was impossible to press the MP-s to vote for a candidate from the MPRP due to that a vice speaker should be appointed by majority of the members. The dispute extended for coming days and the attendance suffered extensively. Finally Mr. R. Gonchigdorj issued a paper requiring the MP-s elected form the MPRP to attend the session and 5 days later on 23 July 1996 the session appointed Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj to be a vice speaker of the Parliament.
The other issues related to forming the cabinet, renovation of the cabinet structure, appointment of the chairmen of the Standing Committees and amendment the law on the Parliament were resolved with no serious contradictions among the political parties and the majority of the Parliament had the same opinion on these issues and formed the cabinet appointing ministers immediately. Despite that the Cabinet members were appointed from outside the Parliament and the Parliament considered the conclusion made by the Constitutional court on the application given by Lamjav.
The issues to be resolved by the Coalition government were waiting and one of them is stated below.
On 1 August 1996 Mr. M. Enkhsaikahn, Prime Minister met Mr. G. Nyamdavaa, Minister for Infrastructure development and Mrs. J. Ouyngerel, Director of NIC, Petroleum Import Company at their own request. Mrs. J. Ouyngerel mentioned during this meeting financial and economic difficulties caused by long price freeze of petroleum products during the former government ruling. If the price of petroleum products and lubricants is not been liberalized the NIC will lose 1.6 bln. Tugrics in the first half of 1996. So she asked to take some urgent measures from the government.
This petrol price issue indicates only the top of huge economic and social structural problems which the Democratic coalition forces who won the election were facing. It was just a start of correcting the economic and structural distortions. The new rulers encountered the social and economic difficulties face to face and felt how serious they are getting from day to day. However, the opposition forces who never felt such a defeat urged to appoint their representative to some positions and walked out from the session 4 times eight days and because of that 20 hours were lost.
During the first month since the Democratic forces won the election there were many words of praise, proud, hope. But there were words of insult, jealousy and even hatred. There were heard words of attack and insult like these young people are not able to rule the country, Mongols had made a wrong decision, this parliament will be dissolved in two years, the government will resign soon, next election will be held… but they were dismissed immediately among these prompt changes.
Part 2. The State And The Citizen. The Liberty And The Competition
Aired on March 27, 2000. Duration: 20 minutes
Man’s memory is not so strong. We have forgotten that we could not even imagine many events which seem to be very ordinary and occur in the society. The events happened during the past four years we are not able to recall in detail and have forgotten that they were like ordinary ones. We prepared in this part of the TV serial “ Mistakes and Rightness of the Democratic Union Coalition” to show how these concepts and understandings became ordinary things in our everyday life.
Many new concepts entered into our life during the period from August 1996 and May 1997 when after the winning of the Democratic Union Coalition in the parliamentary election the main three stamps of the state were in the hands of the President, Speaker of the Parliament and Prime Minister elected from the Coalition.
We would like to emphasize on basic concepts on that what could be understood as state, what is its power, who could be a citizen and what rights he is entitled to.
On 5 August 1996 the government of Mongolia issued a resolution on “ Location of ministries and agencies”. In accordance with the Article 5 – 3 of the Anti-corruption law it was decided to numerate government-owned buildings. In other words, it was decided to announce to public which buildings belong to the government.
Government building N1 - Government house
Government building N2 - Building where the National Development Board was located
Government building N3 - Building of the National Statistics
Government building N4 - Building of the Ministry of Energy and Mining
Government building N5 - Building of the Finance Ministry
Government building N6 - Ministry of the Foreign Affairs
Government building N7 - Building of the Ministry of Defense
During these days the Cabinet adopted the rulings of the new organization named the State property Committee. That was one of the structural change issues to be done with no sensation. Providing grants and soft loan to students of the universities and colleges who were orphans, half-orphans and from families living below the poverty line in accordance with the government resolution attracted people’s attention. That is why at the entrance to the Ministry of Education gathered a number of people who reminded a long queue which happened during socialism to buy meat or milk.
The state declared the power of the people to control the state with the announcement of its power to possess state property. For the first time, the Parliament, the supreme body holding the state power decided to be open. The session notes will be kept in aimag and capital city libraries. The voters now have rights to read what was said by MP-s they elected. In this way the MP-s agreed to be under the control their voters and this was something new to put in mentality of people.
On 29 August when the queue was formed at the entrance of the Ministry of Education the parliament issued an unforgettable decision. The parliament discussed on possibility to have a day of memory on repressed for political reason people and decided to ask pardon from people for political repression on behalf of the state. In order to issue this decision the Parliament had hot disputes. Finally the MP-s could resolve to ask pardon for repression of innocent people for political reasons despite that happened under direct influence of Stalin’s policy. This decision probably was the first indisputable rightness made since the Democratic Coalition took the power from the moral point of view.
Moral decision that the Mongolian state should ask pardon from its people for repression innocent people for political reasons was the first rightfulness accepted by all parties.
To the difficulties which usually faces the new government one thing was added. In 9 out of 25 aimag’s territory were under quarantine because of choleric breakout. During summer months foreign travelers visit Mongolia but a half of summer time were closed due to choleric breakout for travelers and many contracts were canceled or terminated and economy suffered. 25 August was approved by the Parliament decision to be “ Youth day” in 1996.
The session held on 30 August resolved many issues which probably will be marked in history . It issues a resolution to hold a local election on 6 October, amended the Law on energy and liberalize basic prices. The issue on basic price liberalization caused strong opposition. Mr. N. Bagabandi, chief of MPRP group in the Parliament read the proposal made by the group and insisted on that there is no need to issue the Parliament decision on liberalization of the price.
In the speech he mentioned that the former government of the MPRP paid compensation to people in order to decrease the negative impact on living standard and guaranteeing social security in every case when it takes measures aimed at liberalization of price. Also it was indicated that “prompt decision on this problem… could lead to serious consequences and if so the MPRP will not bear any responsibility for this mislead”.
The government issued a resolution N 222 “ On liberalization of prices “ on the basis of the resolution approved by the Parliament on price liberalization of basic items. In accordance with this resolution the power to regulate prices of petroleum products adjusting to world market price and exchange rate of hard currency to Mongolian tugrics was given to the NIC company and in this way a legal basis for establishing market prices with no bureaucratic interference from so-called “price consensus committee” was put. Business liberty was extended by this resolution since 1990-s when foreign trade was freed and all economic entities were entitled to be engaged in foreign trade. Liberalization of basic prices was the biggest achievement which the ex-ruling MPRP did not dare to reach.
But the decision on liberalization of prices of basic items was hindered heavily by the MPRP. Earlier the Parliament group of the MPRP informed and 5 days later the MPRP issued a notification saying “ the MNDP and the MSDP despite the proposal made by the MPRP have decided to liberalize the prices and resolved the issue with great haste and urgency with no careful pondering. The MPRP warns this might lead to grievous consequences with deterioration of the living standard among people. For any consequence and troubles caused by this decision the Democratic Union coalition will be responsible solely.”
In this notification one thing would attract people’s attention. That is the words saying “ despite the proposal made by the MPRP”. Actually in accordance with the proposal made by the MPRP “ when the measures on price liberalization are taken the compensation should be given to people at the same time”. But the cabinet of the Democratic Union Coalition did not care on that. Even the cabinet declared that it is not going to offer any compensation and wage increase related to the liberalization of prices. They relied upon the invisible hand which could regulate demand and supply on the market. We try to explain it using the following (illustrative explanation):
1) When the MPRP was the ruling party, wage increased in case of price increase.
2) When the wage increases inflation also goes up and as a result the purchasing capacity of people went down.
3) When the coalition government liberalized the price of basic items the wage was not increased.
4) Because of price increase the demand of these items lowered and sale decreased.
5) Three weeks later there was an indication that the prices of these items went down.
(As the prices were liberalized bread cost 250 tugrics and later it lowered to 210 tugrics. Flour price went down from 400 to 360 tugrics while vegetable oil cost between 1900-2200 tugrics and 1200-1350 tugrics.)
Wage freezing until the prices became stable after liberalization of basic item prices led to inflation decrease and as a result of this measure wage increase turned into real income of people. Conclusion: Democratic Union Coalition provided a policy aimed at increase of real income of people.
If wage increases with price changes it extends inflation which is useless for economy as well as people. That is why the Democratic Union coalition conducted a tough economic policy during a certain period of time which was aimed at increase of real income of people on the basis of wage increase. This was another rightfulness of Democratic Union Coalition.
During these days when tough economic policy was conducted the Parliament approved a package of laws on banking as the next step for economic policy implementation. Banks had two stages, but the central and commercial banks did not have legally stated responsibilities and rights, Mongol bank did not have legal basis for its operation. So this law on banking laid legal foundation to modern banking system of Mongolia. However the changes occurred in banking and energy system which is far from people’s everyday life did not attract their attention so much. In contrary they were most interested in changes happened in media and press and the journalists also informed people promptly.
We already informed that the main state newspaper Ardyn Erkh declared that it turned into a free newspaper when the new MP-s legal power was not yet approved. The issue related to Ardyn Erkh newspaper which changed its name shortly as “AE Unuudor” (Today) and declared itself as free press was discussed on the session of the Parliament of 3 September 1996 and resolved.
So starting from 4 September 1996 the Ardyn Erkh newspaper was printed again under the same name with forewords “For prosperity of Mongolia”.
The resolution on Ardyn Erkh newspaper resigned Mr.Ts. Baldorj, editor-general declaring the order No 23 of 26 April 1996 by the Parliament speaker. The resolution also charged the Government to cut any case of illegal privatization of the state property and take measures aimed at strict control on state property. On 26 April 1996 Mr. N. Bagabandi , former speaker of the Parliament issued an order No 23 allowing Mr.Ts.Baldorj, editor-general of Ardyn Erkh newspaper to set up a company with limited liability on the basis of real estate and expenditure capital. This order permitted to use the building and equipment which belongs to Ardyn Erkh newspaper by the company. The order was terminated on 3 September by the Parliament.
The State Property Committee within months after its foundation examined the financial and economic activities of the biggest state-owned companies and dismissed directors of some companies who spent state money improperly. This was called as black Friday of directors. The state asked the state-owned companies to pay dividends plus to taxes and it was a quite new task. The state was considered as subject which takes part in everything or which does not see anything like the blind. This understanding was turned over and now the state is that subject which gives power to others and puts control on everything which belongs to the state.
That’s why the issues related structural changes and dismissal of directors by the government decision encountered some kind obstacles provided from the opposition forces. On 17 September 1996 the MPRP issued a notification. In this notification the MPRP called for signing the joint contract among the political parties not to allow another repression because the Democratic Union Coalition sacked a number of people from their job discriminating them on the basis of their party membership and political views.
However the Democratic Union Coalition stated in the answer to the notification that the Constitution of Mongolia is the legal base cutting this kind of repression to happen again and indicated that in the history of Mongolia the power to rule the country is transferred from one political force to another for the first time and only those people who were holding political posts are being changed.
Also the coalition rejected the notification saying that the structural changes resulted in decrease of number of ministries from 14 to 9.
Except choleric breakout the government faced the huge problem of tackling loan debt. Loan given on recoverable basis from the state budget during Jasrai’s government were not repaid in due time and loan from commercial banks were not paid back. There have been many cases like that and it had a negative influence on national economy. At that time 60-70 per cent of overdue loan of 64 bln. Tugricks were considered as hopeless loan to be repaid. Banks were on the edge of bankruptcy and it hindered the flow of money and economic growth.
In these days, in particular on 21 September 1996 the newspaper “Unuudor (Today)” , editor of which is Ts. Baldorj, printed its first number. 15 days later since the Parliament issued its order on the newspaper Ardyn Erkh the daily newspaper started to be published. Another 5 days later the TV channel 25 launched its programme.
In this way within 2 months the Democratic Union Coalition had in the Parliament a strong opposition force, plus opposing daily newspaper and TV channel. But at that time the Democratic Coalition could not notice these changes in external environment and was to busy with forthcoming changes and did not pay any attention to black cloud gathered around the ruling party.
It should be mentioned that within several months there had been plenty of changes and much progress made in foreign relations and internal life. Foreign countries and international organizations were interested in changes occurred in Mongolia and sent their different supports and donations. But we miss all the external information because the main purpose of our program is to display domestic changes in chronological order. So not mentioning that fact Mr. M. Enkhsaikhan, Prime Minister signed the Agreement on unclear test-ban we should underline that the Parliament session discussed on possibility of privatization of apartments on the basis of free transferring to owners on 30 September 1996.
Discussion of the package of Law on Apartment Privatization raised many controversial opinions because of two reasons. One was how to use privatization of apartments for local election purpose. The second was related to some articles on free privatization of apartments. The ruling democratic coalition insisted on facilitation of conditions for apartment privatization on while the opposition tried to delay the whole process criticizing the part of the law on payment.
Two days earlier before the local election the meeting conducted by young people who support the MPRP was held in the Liberty square. The meeting was not of great importance but it was the first street event which was organized by the MPRP as opposition force. The MPRP could not recognize itself as opposition force, but it organized 350 people to go in the street to express their discontent for the first time in its history.
On 6 October 1996 the local election took place. In total 14196 candidates took part in this election and 14020 of them were nominated from 4 political parties and 176 of them were independent candidates. 64.2 percent of voters participated in this election and the candidates from the MPRP won and the Democratic Coalition was defeated. We conclude this part of the program with this information on election results. It shortly informed you how we could witness that the state and its citizens have the same rights and responsibilities the State can punish and ask pardon from its citizens. Also we witnessed how free press and media could work without any pressure on the market competing with each other.
Part 3. Reforms Continue Despite Difficulties
Aired on March 29, 2000. Duration: 20 minutes
Today any person who comes from rural areas to the capital city asks the price of cashmere and exchange rate of dollars. The Mongols already got accustomed to informing by radio prices of goods and inviting customers advertising their business and service. But we need to have more information, that’s why we continue our TV programs reminding you changes which occur from time to time.
We already displayed you what happened and what kind of new concepts and understanding entered into our life between August 1996 and May 1997 when the State power was in the hands of the President, the Speaker of the Parliament and the Prime Minister who were elected from the Coalition. Today we’ll continue that topic.
In October 1996 the first-stage discussion of the law on land rent ended. The issue on land has not been resolved so far and that was just the start of endless discussion. At that time also the package of issues on social security was discussed. The first drafts of these laws were returned for amendment and at that time the action program of the Government was discussed at the Parliament. This action program was pursued during the whole time when the Democratic Union Coalition ruled the country and it was highly appreciated as stable political policy.
The package of apartment privatization law was approved on 24 October 1996. In accordance with this law privatization of apartments was decided to start 1 January 1997. Three days later a god-image Megjidjanraiseg, removed by communist regime in 1930s, was brought back to its initial place and many worshippers came to Gandan Monastery to witness this remarkable event.
Within the framework of structural changes implemented by the Government the aimag and city governor’s office was re-organized. Depending on aimag’s specific features the number of staff for governor’s office was different.
When autumn comes usually people talk a lot on harvest and winter preparation. But in autumn of 1996 there were much talk on urgent problems saying the state property has its owner, it is time to set up prison for debtors, bankruptcy of banks strangulates the economy, budget deficit increases due to price fall of copper and cashmere on the world market and exchange rate of tugricks fell down.
The event happened in the round room of the state building No1 on 23 October 1996. It was and an open auction organized by the State Property Committee where a sportswear shop was sold to Nomin-Trade Company for 94.4 mln. tugrics. The former MPRP Government privatized only equipments not buildings during 1990-1996 privatization, that’s why old privatization was called “half-killed snake” and nobody could dare to invest to buildings which belong to others. The Democratic Union Coalition privatized all buildings for service and many buildings in UB city began to change its faces in a short time.
At this time business had more opportunity for expansion due to that Mongolia acceded to the World Trade Organization. Acceding to the WTO Mongolia accepted the principles of free trade, equal treatment, transparency and tariff regulations used worldwide. Mongolia had to avoid any administrative restrictions in trade with other nations.
The Mongol Bank started to dissolve the banks Ard and Daatgal which are declared to be insolvent on 13 December in order to overcome accumulated in banking system difficulties, create foundation for healthy environment of banking and restore the trust of public in banking. The bank Ard and Daatgal were dismissed and replaced by the state-owned banks such as Saving’s bank, Bank of Reconstruction and Bank of Debt Redemption.
Heavy snowfall and blizzard which happen almost every winter did not miss the winter of 1996-1997. Around 40 sums suffered with zud, winter disaster caused by heavy snowfall, and almost 80 percent of whole territory were under thick snow through the winter months. Just before the New Year the anniversary of Democratic Movement was celebrated nationwide. Also preparation to livestock annual census started. The state which conducted socialist property counting twice a year and sent those people who misused property more than several hundred tugricks to jail, did not announce the public how much property itself owns.
The people who are entitled to spend state money were called as budget governors. Mr. D. Huvtuguldor and Mr. D. Enkhbaatar, MP-s initiated the Law on Pardoning and introduced it to the Parliament session for approval in order to revise the sentence procedures and practice of jail for minor cases. But the law was not approved at all.
Just before the new year there was a sensation on possible hearing of phone calls of some MPRP leaders. The MPRP group in the Parliament decided not to take part in any session and activities until this case was resolved. The Intelligence Office was affected with this unexpected case and it was reconstructed and renamed as State Security Service.
The attendance issue which made any issue discussed at the session more complicated also affected renovation of insurance system. The Parliament minority did not attend the session in protest of adjusting the social insurance system to the market oriented relations. After three months of discussion the package of law on social insurance was approved at the Parliament. So a new system of social insurance and welfare was formed and the Fund of Social Insurance could work independently beyond the Government control. This was one of the gains of the Democratic Union Coalition which laid foundation to future economic independence of people who will get social security benefit depending on his contribution to social welfare. The following were done in January and February 1997:
- Structural changes were done in healthcare system
- Aimag and city governors concluded contracts with the Prime Minister
- Sum governor’s meeting was held
- The law on non-government organization was approved opening the wide space of operation for civil institutions.
- State property census and registration was held for the first time.
- Three laws on Parliament activities were adopted which changed many existing norms into making the Parliament more open to the public.
- The law on Real estate was approved and the office of Real estate was founded.
- The date of Presidential election was established as 18 May 1997.
Despite that our program name’s “Mistakes and Rightfulnes of the Democratic Union Coalition” we’d like to remind our audience that there are many words said on the MPRP, Coalition and other parties because their activities affected Coalition government. The information which is going to be introduced to you is about the internal issue of the MPRP if you look over it. But this had a deep background showing the next stage of political events.
At the end of February 1997 the MPRP had its 22nd national forum and amended its charter. This party had its forum for the first time after its defeat in the election and being as opposition force. At this forum the MPRP rejected its ideology of “Nagarjunai’s”(close to Buddist phylosophy) which was mocked by politicians for several years, which was MPRP’s official platform after rejecting its communist ideology in 1990.
This ideological renovation had bumpy road to reach consensus within MPRP and the journalist could not inform that in time because the forum took place closed. At that time it was clear that Mr. Dash-Yondon, Chairman of the MPRP resigned and replaced by N. Bagabandi and Mr. Enkhbayar, secretary-general of the MPRP borne the heavy load of ideological renovation on his shoulders. Seven days later it was announced that some people initiated setting up the democratic socialist movement and this displayed serious internal conflict within the Party.
In the notification issued by this movement it was indicated that “ The 22nd forum of the MPRP which took place recently approved a action program based on democratic socialist ideology. Unfortunately, some party members like B. Dash-Yondon, N. Bagabandi and L. Enebish who were considered as culprits in the defeat in 1993 Presidential election and 1996 Parliamentary election protested the democratic socialist ideology and caused confusion during the forum.
When they understood that they are not able to resist renovation process they tried to disperse delegates’ attention from key issues like party new ideology, Charter and name instead of discussing these issues they raised a dispute around the position of the party leader and had a baffle for this position”.
Around this internal dispute arisen from the MPRP there was a serious contradiction concerning the position of the capital city mayor. This position caused dispute during whole autumn and winter and the city council representatives voted for J. Narantsatsralt and he was appointed as capital city mayor by the Prime Minister. This long awaited event coincided with very rare natural phenomena-full solar eclipse in Mongolia.
Soon Mr. P.Ochirbat from the Democratic Union Coalition, Mr. N. Bagabandi from the MPRP and Mr. J. Gombojav from the Mongolian Conservative Party were nominated as candidates for the President. Mr. J. Gombojav, a MP elected to the parliament as MPP candidate, gave a notification on the MPRP conference just before he was nominated as candidate for the president on his decision to leave the Party. This raised controversial opinions among the MP-s to seek for a proper answer if it is legal for somebody who becomes a MP nominated from the party and later he or she resigns the party membership, and how to introduce the article of law on political parties “ if the Party considers to terminate its MP-s legal power it has a right to recall him back introducing the issue to the Party group within the Parliament”.
But it ended with the answer that in case of majority system of election that’s not possible to do. This practice used by J.Gombojav to reject his party when he intends to compete in the presidential election was repeated by 9 MP-s who changed their party while being in the Parliament.
One of the main renovation activities held during the pre-election campaign was approval of new taxation laws. In April and May 1997 the following events occurred:
Snow blizzard was left behind but fire replaced it. By 1 April there have been 33 cases of wild fire; The law on Notary Office was approved; The law on civil right of foreigners was adopted; On the conference of the Mongolian Democratic Movement Ts. Elbegdorj, chairman resigned at his own request. He was replaced by B. Bilegt; The State declared on property census result. During the census there were cases revealed that the state property were owned by individuals illegally; In April the government approved the resolution to increase the wage of civil servants up to 30 percent; Teachers went on demonstration for wage increase.
The spring session of the Parliament started; The forum of the MNDP was held and Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj was re-elected as its chairman. The party council was totally changed; From 1 may the wage of civil servants increased up to 20 per cent and service workers wage fund was increased by 25 per cent; An attempt to transfer state property to the ownership of local administration was made in Darkhan Uul aimag; Applications form people to privatize their apartments were received; Mr. J. Batmunkh, former Prime Minister of socialist time died at 71.
Nine drafts of the package of taxation laws were approved after three or four months of discussion. So the Mongols had to pay taxes in two stages from four. Thanks to decrease of stages in taxation income taxes payable by 2898 companies decreased in 10 – 25 per cent. At that time around one percent of 8000 taxpaying companies of out 300 000 registered economic entities paid almost 90 per cent of the total tax revenue. This means that state budget revenue was dependent on a few monopolistic enterprises. The next chart displays how taxation was decreased:
For around 1100 companies taxation burden decreased from 40 to 15 percent when taxation transferred from 4 stages to 2 stages. Also the income taxes from individuals decreased and customs duties for all goods zero-rated. Almost all entities were based on imported goods, raw materials and technological equipment and that is why business people called this time of low taxation duties as golden time for business.
Actually it seemed that golden period for business running really came to Mongolia and there were events which could confirm that in spring and summer of 1997. When the delegates of government organized international meeting of donors and investors in the field of oil exploration, natural gas and mining with the support of the World Bank still convened in Ulan-Bator, the capital of Mongolia, oil was found in the eastern region of Mongolia and Mr. Ochirbat, Mongolian president witnessed this remarkable event smearing his white deel with it.
We should mention the main political events occurred in spring of 1997. This is the presidential election which took place on 18 May 1997 and a candidate from the MPRP Mr. N. Bagabandi won in this election. He had his inauguration ceremony a month later. During a wrestling competition held on this occasion Mr. Sh. Otgonbileg, president of the Mongolian Olympic committee handed “ Golden Star” to him.
Part 4. Economy Stabilizes But The Politics Shudders
Aired on March 31, 2000. Duration: 20 minutes
In 1996 thousands of voters voted for the Democratic Union coalition hoping they will find the way out of the endless economic crisis. An inflation like an invisible monster made the Mongols terrified since 1990 because they found the prices increased in several times when they even did not count their salary.
We have forgotten today when and how this fear ended. But now price fluctuation does not worry Mongols so much, even fare for trolley bus cost 200 tugrics in two months decreased to 100 tugrics without any demonstration or resistance meeting. This leads to decrease of bus fare and this happens in accordance with market laws. We witness price decrease almost everyday and this term became a part of our life and even we started to think it as usual business practice. But we would like to remind you that this our thinking did not have long path.
The main events of June 1997 occurred among the political forces beyond the coalition. On 18 June Mr. N. Enkhbayar was appointed as new chairman of the MPRP, Mr. S. Bayar became a chief of President’s Office and Mr. O. Dashbalbar, MP, was appointed as chairman of the Mongolian Conservative party.
While the parties beyond the Coalition changed their leaders the government adopted the program aimed at privatization of state property including 400 small and 100 bigger enterprises and entities. During this summer dachas were crowded after their decade’s emptiness and found today’s face.
Such positive changes were not fully noticed by us but the outside world was looking at these slight changes and appreciated it. The US Congress subcommittee approved a document providing most-favored nation treatment in trade and Mr. Bill Clinton, US president sent a letter to Congress saying that Mongolia meets requirements of free immigration to the US.
Starting form 1 August 1997 the rate of income taxes decreased in accordance with amendment to the taxation law. Taxes imposed on income earned part time decreased from 40 per cent to 10 per cent. Also it was decided not to levy income taxes on discount expenses related to accommodation, transportation, fuel and food.
The Minister of Education issued one order when school children and students were on summer holiday. In this order aimed at implementation of the government action plan in the field of education it was indicated to teach English in schools of all stages starting from the academic year of 1997 – 1998. Ten-Fifteen years ago Mongolian students had to speak Russian to their native country Universities.
But new order was remarkable in that it gave priority to English in comparison to other foreign languages but not to native Mongolian language as it was during socialism. At that time a parliamentary election was held in electoral district #21 and Mr. N. Enkhbayar, newly-elected chairman of the MPRP won this election.
Malaysian president Makhatir bin Mohamed who visited Mongolia on 8 September 1997 was met at the Sukhbaatar square in accordance with new rules to meet honorable guests.
In September when most MP-s were on vacation the following events took place:
• 18 gold mines in Zaamar area were examined by the Ministry for Environmental protection and fined to pay compensation
• Two-day demonstration was organized by the Student’s Union resisting doubled increase of tuition fees and dormitory charges. This could find support from the government and directors of universities and colleges had to convene to cancel their decision
• Starting form 1 October all benefits and pensions increased in 2000 tugrics. Also that amount were added to benefits and pensions established before 1995
It was clear that new political environment was created by that time when the autumn session of the Parliament opened on October 1st of 1997, the time when Coalition was defeated in three consequent elections: Local, Presidential, and Parliamentary 22nd electoral district’s. And the Coalition worked in more open conditions which any other rulers experienced in Mongolia. Newspapers and media criticized the Coalition a lot. Under the influence of strong opposition and media a new environment was created to blacken all things done by the Coalition.
The MPRP used this immediately at the session of the Parliament on 1 October 1997 where Mr. N. Enkhbayar newly elected MP took his legal power. At that time he suggested to resign the Government saying that the Democratic Union Coalition devastated country making it poor. Mr. M. Enkhsaikhan, Prime Minister said that the tough economic policy was aimed on social welfare and growth.
From the words said by the politicians on the autumn session it was understood that the majority of the Parliament were satisfied by that what was achieved by the Government. The President considered right to keep political stability. On that day the Cabinet lead by Mr. M. Enkhsaikhan had meeting and issued a notification on speech made by Mr. N. Enkhbayar. It was stated in the notification that “ the speech made by Mr. N. Enkhbayar blackened all activities of the Government and was full of slandering and he tried to create instable political conditions in the society”.
On contrary , press representative of the MPRP called for conducting a survey among the public on possibility of government resignation. However people were more interested in not political contradictions like waiting for decision on compensation to families of repressed people. The main topic discussed at the Parliament was whether the grand children of repressed monks are entitled to get compensation and whether monks had their heirs.
The law on archives also raised hot disputes at the sessions. The proposal made by Mr. T. Erdenebileg, MP, to bring all archive materials kept in the MPRP and public organizations from 1921 till 1991 to Central State Archive led to this dispute. The MPRP group at the Parliament said the MPRP archives are their inalienable property while the Coalition members considered it as a part of our nations history before 1990. Because of this hot dispute the Parliament session was interrupted several times. Three days later after the autumn session opened 23 members of the MPRP within the Parliament handed over a draft on government resignation to Mr. R. Gonchigdorj, speaker of the Parliament.
For the first time in the history of Mongolia Parliament had to discuss an issue on government resignation in 15 days after this petition was handed over. So, on 14 October Standing Committees discussed that issue. The Parliament discussed proposal made by the MPRP on its sessions on 16 and 17 October. On 17 October the MP-s voted and 25 of them had same opinion as the MPRP while 47 voted against. One sheet was considered as invalid and the Government led by Mr. M. Enkhsaikhan was left.
At this time the Parliament also issued the decision which contained principally new steps. In accordance with the new law on statistics the minimum of living standard would be independently established beyond political decisions and Central Statistics Board was removed from the Government affiliate and renamed as National Statistics Department. Today the Statistical data is not controlled and restricted by the Government and now the Government is not able to cut statistical data to justify its policy, Instead of that government will correct its policy looking at independent statistical data.
The National Statistics Department works totally independent from the Government and the data issued by this Department can be not so satisfactory, but the Coalition preferred to control its activities on the basis of true data. It was obviously a principal difference of its policy.
The political disputes were continued while the salary of judges and prosecutors increased and law on compulsory military service and bankruptcy were adopted. The MPRP sent a petition to the Standing Committee on legal matters to change the conclusion “the main culprit of political repression was the MPRP” in the draft law on redressing of people politically repressed. The leaders of the Mongolian Democratic Union and the Mongolian Union of Repressed People issued a notification in protest arguing that MPRP was one and only ruler during 75 years when many innocent people were repressed under political motives.
This hot dispute lasted for several days attracting all mass media. At that time the budget for 1998 was approved and this coincided with a remarkable event on the world market which might have a negative influence on this approved budget. As of 3 December 1997 price of gold, one of main export goods of the country, decreased in 23,8 per cent as the NYSE informed. On 4 December the Parliament approved in order to transfer 5 working days in a week despite of strong criticism.
The memorial for repressed people opened on date of 8 years anniversary of the Democratic Movement. At the opening ceremony of the memorial reminding person who was kept in strong ties and trying to freed there were in presence high-ranking officials.
The main events which attracted people’s attention in the last month of 1998 were poor attendance of sessions by MP-s, a project on installation of natural gas pipe line through the territory of Mongolia, a project on hydro power station on Eg river, initiating the Casino law, AIDS infected by Cameroon citizens and deepening of economic crisis occurred in Asian countries.
The Asian crisis started from Thailand and the crisis mainly happened because of huge foreign debt, decrease of production, bank suffering from overdue loan and credit given by banks in hard currency. Soon the crisis extended to Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and the South Korea. The crisis in the South East Asia influenced the rates of stock markets in New York, London and Tokyo.
Political events of the new year of 1998 started with consensus reached by the Parliament majority and minority on draft law on redressing political repressed people and paying compensation to them. The Law on Archives which caused disputes was adopted too. The State jointly with MPRP will provide a building for the MPRP archives and finance all activities related to public access to archive materials. The Law on Road Transport was approved and coordination works in production and service started to be done in connection with transition to 5 working day system. The economic indexes were positive at the end of the year.
The number of livestock reached 31.1 mln and agricultural development became stable and harvest increased 10 percent in comparison with the last year. Price and exchange rate which exceeded than 50 percent which hampered investment and production in the past years, has decreased significantly at the end of 1997 and inflation became equal to 17,5 percent showing decrease of almost in three times. While the economic crisis in Asia continued there was a sign of economic stabilization in Mongolia and it was highly appreciated by foreign organizations and countries which support Mongolia.
On 15 and 16 January 1998 a draft law which caused disputes among the MP-s was approved. Upon the initiatives of some MPs - E.Bat-Uul, S.Bayartsogt and J.Byambadorj the law of legal power of MP-s was amended and in accordance with this amendment the MP has a right to be a cabinet member. This decision was welcomed by some politicians, but on the other hand it worried some people because it could be used as ground for untimely resignation of the government which conducts its activities properly. So it might bring to political instability in the country.
At the same time the Casino law which would cause much sensation later was approved those days. The information on decrease of loan interest attracted the public and business community since January 1998. The Saving’s bank declared decrease of monthly interest of loan to 4 percent in connection with inflation rate drop. Trade and services also started to announce price drops. With inflation drop price and loan interest also dropped one after one.
11 and 12 February 1998 were days remarkable for oil exploration. The first shipment of oil for export from Tamsag oil field was sent to China with 350 barrels of crude oil. Besides the Board in charge of oil exploration signed the contract on oil search and product division in fields Galba XI with Canadian “Territorial Resources” and the US “Soco Galba Mongolia”.
A few days later when rural people could not receive information on decrease of energy price in western region on 18 February 1998, N. Bagabandi, Mongolian President sent a letter to Mr.Boris Yeltsin, Russian President. In this letter he indicated long-term stable effective activities of the Erdenet copper mining company and his attention to this enterprise. He requested Mr.Yeltsin to keep this issue under his constant care.
This happened at time when the government issued a decision not to include directors of the Erdenet mining and Mongolrostsvetmet in the Mongolian part of the council of those companies. The event that the Mongolian President requested to pay attention to single economic entity by the President of a foreign country initiated several sharp disputes within the country which demanded the answers of the following questions:
1. Should the President of Mongolia send a letter to the President of a foreign country requesting him to pay attention to a single economic entity?
2. Is the President, the person responsible to express the national unity, entitled to express that he pursues divert policy as the government and declare it to a foreign country displaying the internal controversial issues?
3. Does the President’s care of one company meet the principle of equal treatment of State activities stated in the Constitution of Mongolia?
4. Why did the President get involved in the issues which was already resolved by the Mongolian Government according its legal competence?
5. What consequence could the breach of norms of state institutional activities bring?
However it was the time when there were signs of economic recovery and people were quite happy with these changes. That’s why they did not pay much attention to above dispute. Indeed the government needed support from the Parliament in order to overcome difficulties of institutional character caused by the President, but the minority which attacked the government to resign and the majority who provided full support have the same opinion that this problem might be resolved only in case of conducting the principles of classic parliamentarian power.
Part 5: The Deadlock At The Beginning Of The Parliament’s Maturity Or How Did The Coalition Confront Big Economic Interests
Aired on April 02, 2000. Duration: 20 minutes
Ladies and gentlemen! We present to you the TV Serial “Mistakes and Rightfulness of the Democratic Union Coalition of Mongolia”. It was obvious that in the past, with its gains and losses, the Coalition of the Democratic Union had no possibility to develop the events at its own discretion.
Previous releases had shown some facts of this but covered only a period when the Coalition had not so much perceived of the influences and determining factor of other political forces or other participants of all events occurred past time in Mongolia. Nevertheless, this Part of the Serial which introduces events after 18 February 1998 and the following parts deal with what level the above factors of those other participants reach and as a consequence what difficulties the Mongolian Government as well as the Democratic Union Coalition started to face. Please stay and enjoy watching the Part 5 of the TV serial “Mistakes and Rightfulness of the Democratic Union Coalition” now.
Arguments concerning an appointment for the post of Director of Erdenet Copper Mining and Concentrating Concern mentioned at the end of the previous Part of the Serial now can be described as following in their sequences:
On 20 February 1998 the President of Mongolia N. Bagabandi addressed the Government of Mongolia expressing his disappointment (disagreement) with regard to the new composition of Mongolian Members to the Councils of Mongolian-Russian Erdenet Joint Venture and Mongolrostsvetmet Company adopted by the Government meeting excluding the General Directors of the companies concerned and requested it to reconsider the matter.
The same evening the Government urgently convened to reconsider the previous agenda item and decided not to alter its previous decision made on 18 February 1998 and nominated G. Nyamdavaa for the post of the General Director of the Erdenet Joint Venture for the consideration at the Council of the Joint Venture since Sh. Otgonbileg’s term would be over on 31 December 1997.
Two days later the President Bagabandi sent a letter to the Councils of the Erdenet Joint Venture and Mongolrostsvetmet Company. In his letter the President extends his appreciation for good management and efficient operation (excellent performance) of both of the Joint Venture and the Company and, based on such judgment, kept informed the both of Mongolian and Russian Chairmen and members of the Councils of his position to leave Sh. Otgonbileg, General Director of Erdenet Joint Venture, and H. Badamsuren, General Director of Mongolrostsvetmet Company at their respective posts.
However, the same day the Government had issued a press release on Erdenet Joint Venture where it is said that there were accumulated matters concerning the Erdenet Joint Venture to be settled by force of law enforcement agencies.
Two days after the press release the Presidential Office made a request to the Government for further clarification of its contents. The Presidential Office considered the point which states that “the Government took into its consideration the pressure from the President of Mongolia in regard to the questions of exclusive power of the Mongolian Government by expressing in various forms his position to leave Sh. Otgonbileg at his office so forgetting own civil responsibility and ignoring national interests of Mongolia” as a drastically distorted explanation of the President’s position and requested to publicize the complete text of the Protocol of the Government meeting in the days.
That evening the Government Office had responded to the Presidential Office. In that letter it is said that the Government makes a decision within its competence and in accordance with the Constitution and is able to be responsible for its own actions.
While the President and the Government were so arguing on the question of appointing the General Director of the Erdenet Joint Venture it came the first day of the Tsagaan Sar (The White Month – the Lunar New Year) and on that first day of the prime month of spring of the earth tiger year caused a sensation appeals of heads of the Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP) and the Mongolian Social Democratic Party (MSDP) to combine their two parties.
How the debates at a political level within the country would develop depended on the result of the 26th Council Meeting of the Mongolian-Russian Joint Venture to be held in Moscow earlier March. But the Meeting had postponed discussion of the question concerning the Erdenet Joint Venture General Director for reason that the Mongolian side had no uniform position. However, the Mongolian side confirms its position not to re-nominate Sh. Otgonbileg at the special Meeting of the Council to be held 3 months later.
At that time when the Parliament, with particular interest, was discussing the draft laws for building the favorable business environment which were not tangible for society though were of no less important than the bills caught special attention of the people it had occurred an unavoidable in human nature grief to the Parliament. S. Gonchig elected to the Parliament from the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) passed away by illness.
The 6th sitting of the second Session of the MNDP commenced on 27 March 1998 in the Government House was held full of hot debates and became an event having a direct impact to the following political processes. The sitting again demonstrates its importance as S. Zorig, the chairman of the Parliament Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy, chaired it. At a time when in neighboring Russia its Prime Minister was removed from his office and S. Krienko was newly appointed an acting Prime Minister, in Mongolia talks within the ruling Party to resign the Government, to introduce the classic model of the Parliament and different system of carelessness or to pursue the initial concept were the burn of another hot political debates.
In general, there arise questions where any concept comes from, why it becomes such a thing like a thorn in a sole causing irritation or why it leads people to accept again the concept that was once rejected. However, people find out the concept of any one system at the end of lots of confusion and sufferings with both gains and losses through out a hundred and hundred years. When that concept in the form of final decision is copied by those who are not yet on their way at least one group of humanity finds the correct way without difficulties.
After a long debate on whether to authorize or not its General Council to decide on the matters concerning the Government taking into account the political situation the very same Session of the MNDP made a fundamental decision with small difference in voting. In other words, the difference was just 3 votes. Such a small difference in voting should have averted experienced politicians or pessimistic people from taking radical measures. However, 20 days later of that Session the General Council of the MNDP and the Political Council of the MSDP had adopted a resolution saying that “the Chairman of the Democratic Union Coalition should be appointed the Prime Minister” and such a decision caused sharp changes in Mongolian political life.
Ignorance of the fact that the Majority’s proposal approved by votes with a small difference is not enough for radical decision-making was a mistake made by the Democratic Union Coalition.
Further the process had developed much faster. The following day of making the above decision by the two parties leading organs the Government held the special meeting to be resigned itself, reached a consensus with the President of Mongolia and upon receiving a prompt reply from the President in support of its resignation, the Government tabled the request of its resignation to the Parliament. After the Majority Group satisfied the Government request the same day, 11 MP-s later nicknamed as “rural fraction” by correspondents made a statement objecting the resignation of the Government. In their statement, MPs D. Enkhtaivan, D. Batnasan, N. Battsereg, Do. Ganbold, R. Odonbaatar, N. Tuvshintugs, J. Otgonbayar, D. Tsogbadrah, D. Bohisharga, Ch. Otgonbayar and L. Luvsan-Ochir mentioned that “as regards the situation in Mongolia the specific provision of the law regulating the process of forming new Government might differ from that in the Constitution. In other words, there is no uniform legal basis in regard to forming new Government. In such a case re-formation of the Government may lead to complicated political circumstances”.
However, on 22 April 1998 M. Enkhsaikhan’s Government was resigned completely. The next day Ts. Elbegdorj, Chairman of MNDP and Democratic Union Coalition and one of first leaders of Mongolian Democaratic Movement- first non-communist political organization in Mongolia, was appointed the Prime Minister of Mongolia.
Many politicians believed that by appointing the Chairman of the Democratic Union Coalition for the Post of the Prime Minister new opportunities would open for full implementation of the Constitution. It was also clear from the then point of opposition as well as the Coalition that they were optimistic by such act to end contradiction in division of power as some powers of the Government and the President were understood to be mixed. Though Mongolia had chosen the parliamentary system, since adoption of the new Constitution the Parliament never functioned according to its classic sense, the majority at the Parliament never tested the theory of its transformation into Government and the political parties were never handling with the principles of that ideal. Now it came time to put all these into reality. Formation of new Government was the first task of the initial trial in shaping of the parliamentary ruling government.
It was opened an opportunity for everybody who is a member both of the Democratic Union Coalition and the Parliament to be nominated for any post of minister. The questions of criteria arose according to which parties and individuals as well as Parliament could be evaluated. In order to appoint 9 ministers of Ts. Elbegdorj’s Government it appeared a new phenomenon to nominate candidates at the meeting of the Governing Board of the MNDP and the MSDP, approve the nominations at the meeting of the Majority Group and then block the nominations at the Parliament by secret voting.
It took at a whole one month and 2 days for formation of the Government Cabinet 5 ministers being appointed on 29 April 1998, 2 ministers on 6 May 1998, one minister on 21 May and another one minister on 26 May and there were a number of candidates failed to be appointed a minister. It was no such a case before taking so many days for forming a Cabinet and since that moment it began an acute criticism on internal controversy of the Majority Group, image of Coalition Parties and their members personal ambitions.
As greetings, respective guests and actual problems await any new Government, Ts.Elbegdorj Government was not only met by favourable events such as the visit of Mrs.Albright, the US State Secretary to Mongolia, but also faced damages caused by heavy sand and snow storms in western region of the country. Only in storm of 20 April 1073 dwellings crashed, 8 shelters burned, 1375 fences broke down and western aimags had power and telecommunication cuts as a result of breaks and falls of 220 kW 2 high voltage electric towers and 110 kW 30 high voltage electric towers in Uvs aimag.
Also in the cause of quarrel before the Government is completed Malaysian party made a proposal to cancel implementation of contracts concluded during the visit of Malaysian Prime Minister. The proposal could be explained as having connection with the fact that Mongolian party turned back from what was agreed with Malaysian party on Eg river hydropower station and decided to conclude a contract with Czech “Techno-art”. In despite of such favorable and unfavorable news as a continuation of events or deeds of time of previous Government it occurred a number of tragic events in these days.
On 9 May 1998 MP M.Chimidtseren had died by accident. A few days later, on 26 May it heard alerted news that a plane U-12 flying from Erdenet to Tosontsengel was lost and soon found crashed in Baishint in Galt soum of Huvsgul aimag.
One event of political nature happened during the quiet fine days of the prime month of Summer in 1998 was that the Government had adopted its Decree No: 80 to merge two banks the last week day before Ts.Uuld, a candidate of the MPRP had a victory at parliamentary election in the 37th electorate. The Decree No: 80 of the Government was a secret document that till today it was not published in any paper. However, where the Government introduced the Decree to merge two banks at the Parliamentary secret Session anticipating its approval the matter became a target of the most open discussion in the history of that Parliament.
As the Government Decree No: 80 obliged the Chairman of the State Property Office and the Minister for Finance to take immediate measures to improve management, organizational structure and liquidity of the Bank of Reconstruction by merging it with other bank having good financial and liquidity performance, on 28 May 1998 by Decision of Minister for Finance the Bank of Reconstruction and the Golomt Bank were merged.
But the case where insolvent Bank was state-owned while the distinguished by its financial and liquidity performance bank was privately-owned, caused big difficulties. At the secret session of the Parliament at which the Decree No: 80 was introduced the Minority at the Parliament objected the Decree and so the Speaker of the Parliament made his decision to set up a working group to check whether the Government Decision is in consistency with other enactments or not. The same day the MPRP Group at the Parliament had a press conference and made a statement “not to take part in the Parliament activities until the Bank of Reconstruction is returned to the state ownership”.
It is worthy to note that the MPRP being well organized was too quick to respond to the matters around the Government Decree No: 80. The fact that the MPRP could show its energy and ability as well as its good discipline at solving this matter, from one point of view, made it an example of irresistible powerful opposition and gave a lesson for its opposing forces, but from other point of view, politicized and stepped over the sane judgments regarding the concrete decision made by the Government for accurate banking management in order to treat an ill economy and for the sake of ordinary clients.
The MPRP was very busy taking, within a single month, indefinite number of measures such as making decisions at the Governing Council on banks matters, making statements through its MPRP Group at the Parliament, organizing press conferences, not attending the Parliament Session for more than 40 days, organizing the movement in support of the Party under the motto “For the interests of the Reconstruction Bank employees and safeguarding state property”, summoning an extraordinary Session of the “united movement” at its residential house, organizing protestation gathering on the Square of Freedom, quickly responding to and suppressing any critical statements against its position, handing demands, insisting its members to actively participate in the respective working groups, sending letters to different agencies, in particular, to the legal authorities as well as police to initiate criminal proceedings on the banks affairs and adding voice to crowds gathered outside the Government Building everyday.
And it seemed like Mongolia is in a war situation. All these strictly organized and consecutive protestations were one of the difficulties which the Democratic Union Coalition never faced before. At the same time it should be noted that from the economic point of view, nobody had objected the arrangements made by the Government. Depositors were calm, international financial and lending institutions had considered the arrangements as the most appropriate and addressed the economists and politicians be sober-minded.
The Parliament, wished to make a political progress by execution of parliamentary power in its classic sense and formed new Government, so after more than 40 days deadlock had discussed the banks matters for 2 days at its open Session but failed to make a decision since the Minority Group at the Parliament left the hall. Meantime, questions and bills awaiting a decision at the Parliament gathered in numbers while the most of summer days had gone. The Majority Group began to suggest to the Minority Group to form its shadow Government and to elaborate its own version on the disputed matters. This could become an example of the classic Parliament and politicians uttered that this was important for shaping the Parliament.
The Coalition took the following steps in order to bring the Parliament out of the deadlock:
1. Wishing a consensus with the MPRP sent a letter and the list of its Consultation Group to the Chairman of the MPRP N. Enkhbayar.
2. The meeting of the General Council of the MNDP made an appeal to the President Bagabandi which called for immediate organization of consultation between the Governing Bodies of the Parties having seats at the Parliament.
3. The Prime Minister sent a letter to the Minority Group of the MPRP at the Parliament asking its members to attend the Session.
4. The National Security Board was requested to consider difficulties caused to the economy because of deadlock in the Parliamentary activities for many days and make recommendations.
While these matters were delayed by the opposition for its consideration, on 9 July 1998 some 26 MPs presented to the Speaker of the Parliament R.Gonchigdorj their proposal to resign the Government and in 15 days the proposal was discussed at the Parliament. Though the meeting of the Majority Group decided not to resign the Government, as a result of secret voting the votes were divided and Ts.Elbegdorj Government was resigned.
Thus the one Government being supported by the Parliament only for 2 days since it was completed, being born from that Parliament itself and being blocked by that Parliament was resigned after three months. For a few months that Second Government of Coalition could make a significant contribution for saving budget and decide on rewarding sportsmen bringing success in contests by mln. of tugrugs and the other important job done by the Government was the land use entitlement of Mongolian nationals, economic entities and organizations for up to 60 years with the minimum period of 15 years.
For this end the measures were taken to protect constitutional rights of citizen and keep economic independence of citizens free from political influences. As a result of these measures anyone getting permission for land-use doesn’t need to ask a civil servant for extension of the permit every year, and also saves significant amounts which, otherwise, could have been considered as corruption.
Another strength of the Coalition was its policy to keep economic independence of citizens free from the political influence.
Though the most important job of Ts.Elbegdorj Government, the renovation of banks, was interrupted by his resignation , while he was an acting Prime Minister the Government had confronted with more difficult task. To recall some of them here we present one fact of 21 July 1998.
The State Property Office had organized a press conference on results of investigation at Erdenet Joint Venture and informed of its unsatisfactory conclusions. Ch. Burenbayar, an officer of Information and Communications Office of the Presidential Office had entered the MM TV news agency office on 17 July, Friday, and copied some files such as the report of the press conference where the results of the investigation at Erdenet Joint Venture were presented to, and an interview of Z.Enkhbold, the Chairman of the State Property Committee, given to the MM Agency correspondent.
In these sensational days by victory of the candidate from the MPRP to the Parliamentary re-election D.Tseveenjav at the 53th Electorate, the MPRP Group at the Parliament finally had the composition which could influence the Parliamentary quorum without participation of O.Dashbalbar, Chairman of Mongolian Conservative party. By this we end this part of the Serial.
Part 6. Deepening Of The Constitutional Crisis And Internal Split Within The Coalition
Aired on April 04, 2000. Duration: 20 minutes
Today we will show you several events which we could not forget yet. The events like removal of the general director of the Erdenet mining, unsuccessful attempts to appoint the third Prime Minister of Mongolia were the things which happened for the first time in the history of Mongolia.
The parliament looked very silent after it resigned the government led by Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj. The reputation of the Parliament lowered among the public because it resigned the government out of its economically efficient decision. Public criticized the Parliament for its causing political instability. That is why there were voices to declare that the strong presidential governance is the right power for Mongolia. Also politicians came to the conclusion that if we want to have parliamentarian governance we should amend the Constitution adding some articles on internal code of conduct within the party, possibility on having transparent votes, attendance issue and others. This might be a political significance of forming the Cabinet which could work few months.
On 27 July 1998 Mongolia joined the regional forum of ASEAN, ARF in order to participate in activities of the Asia Pacific region. At that time there was a set of debts concerning heat and energy network and it caused an obstacle in preparation to winter. The main debtor was the Erdenet mining corporation. But there were some news which could make people happy like increase of wages to civil servants up to 40 per cent and declaration of the next year as year of veterans.
On 31 July, 1998 the general council of the MNDP decided to agree on nominee for the post of the Prime Minister. Three days later Mr. Davaadorjin Ganbold was nominated for the Prime Minister.
Two days later the Government session resigned Mr. Sh. Otgonbileg, general director of Erdenet mining corporation from his post and Mr. D. Dorligjav was appointed as acting general director. On that day Mr. Sh. Otgonbileg informed the public on his non-acceptance of the government decision because he thinks that is illegal. The next day On 6 August D. Dorligjav went to Erdenet to accept his new post. The political council of the Mongolian Social Democratic party expressed their support to Mr. D. Ganbold and all parties within the coalition came to a consensus. There was a rumor that Mr. Otgonbileg who did not agree with the government decision disappeared. He was called to come but did not appear and it was impossible to transfer his duty to another without a mining corporation stamp.
This was a unprecedented case of resistance from the state-owned enterprise when its director was replaced by the State property committee. This resistance came from another side which was not expected. The presidential office sent a letter to the meeting of representatives of staff of Erdenet mining Mongolian Russian joint venture informing that the government decision on replacing the general director of the Erdenet mining corporation violates the laws and it should be invalidated. The representatives of staff of the Erdenet mining who received this letter hesitated whom to believe the Government or the Presidential office.
At this time the working group sent from the government to Erdenet for three days reported to the government on their 3 – day mission. Mr. Z. Enkhbold informed that the local administrative and legal authorities were slow and sluggish as if they were dependent on the mining corporation, so time was lost and government decision to increase efficiency of the mining industry and redeem all debts was not implemented and there were cases of anarchy. That is why the government decided to impose emergency in the mining corporation.
But Mr. N. Bagabandi, Mongolian president delivered his proposal resisting the emergency in the Erdenet mining corporation. It was heard at the government session.
However the Cabinet members decided to put emergency at the Erdenet mining corporation because it caused huge debt chains around energy consumption and revenue deficit which led to delay of social benefit payments. At 2.p.m. people gathered around the building of the Erdenet mining corporation and declared their intention to start hunger strike in support of Mr. Sh. Otgonbileg and at 4p.m. other people organized signature collecting in support of the government decision.
The next day, 11 August was also full of sensation. The president succeeded to answer the notification given by the staff from the Erdenet mining corporation and reminded the parliament to bear all responsibilities arisen from the decision issued by the government which already resigned. This day the Commission for emergency organized by the government issued an order to recall Sh. Otgonbileg and Sh. Gezegt who were resisting to be replaced and removed for their posts. The government sent a letter to president N. Bagabandi asking him to inform the Russian side that Mongolia has the same opinion on this issue as its Government does and asked him to reject his previous letter sent to B.Yeltsin.
By 12 August Sh. Otgonbileg did not appear so the government commission decided to open the office room of the general director and D. Dorligjav started to work there. This day Mr. D. Tserenpil, judge from the Chingeltei district of the capital city issued a verdict to suspend the resolution by the State property committee on dismissal of Mr. Otgonbileg. The presidential office called Mr. L. Garamjil, director, Implementing board of court decision to take measures in accordance with this verdict. The State property committee appealed this court decision to the city court and stated that judge Sh. Tserenpil violated some articles of legislation and resolutions issued by the government and the State property committee and did not provide a presence of representatives of defendants. This day Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj, acting Prime Minister sent a letter to the Russian Prime Minister informing on emergency regime in the Erdenet mining corporation.
On 13 August the event took place in the another direction. The coalition leaders sent to the president a letter informing their decision on nomination of Mr. D. Ganbold to Prime Minister’s post and introduce it to the Parliament.
Appointing the Prime Minister takes place usually two three days after the Coalition agrees with the President and introduces to the parliament. But this time it went differently. The same day when president received this letter he expressed his intention not to support Mr. D. Ganbold, one of MNDP leaders and one who was famous as “father of privatization”, to be appointed as Prime Minister.
The next day the Coalition leaders wished to support Mr. D. Ganbold repeatedly from the president. But the president expressed again his intention not to support Mr. D. Ganbold. This day the parliament closed session issued a resolution to invalidate the government resolutions N. 80 and 114 on banking measures.
It was obvious that the decision on merging of the banks named Golomt and Bank of Renovation is to be terminated and in this case the Golomt will survive and continue its operations successfully as it did previously. So there was a new problem how to be with the Bank of Renovation in these circumstances. In order to continue its activities the Bank of Renovation needed to have at least 10 billion tugrics. But the government did not have such a huge amount. That’s why it sent a petition to the President requesting him to veto the Parliament’s resolution on this matter. In other words the government did not want to spend 10 billions while there was a way to decide the problem without spending a penny. But President did not put veto on the matter.
Next days the President expressed his intention not to accept Mr. D. Ganbold, nominee for the Prime Minister when he met the coalition leaders. The Parliament approved a law on Construction. The Golomt bank which was forcedly separated from the Bank of Renovation continued to operate as usually. Besides this happenings the “Casinos Mongolia” company, defeated in the casino bidding conducted a press conference which was a new sensation.
The interest of the Parliament majority was approval of their nominee for the Prime Minister by the President. So on 19 August the coalition introduced the name of Mr. D. Ganbold to the President for the forth time. But the President rejected his name and nominated Mr. Dogsom Ganbold for the Prime Minister while sending a letter to MSDP and this put a foundation for a new dispute.
The MSDP issued a notification that the President violated legislation when he proposed to nominate other person and when he sent a letter to the MSDP on his proposal and tried to split differences with one of the parties which formed the coalition. But Mr. Dogsom Ganbold did not protest his nomination by the President which meant it was possible to break the Coalition from inside by other forces.
Conclusion: Some members elected from the Coalition could not protect their position putting down their ambition at needed time which gave an impact to break of coalition and lowered its power as Parliament political force.
These days the Parliament amended the Criminal Law and other laws adding an article on criminal penalties on those who tried to avoid debt payment.
Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj, acting Prime Minister sent an official letter to Mr. R. Gonchigdorj, Parliament Speaker asking to advise how to resolve issues related to deficit caused by the Parliament resolution on separation of two banks. These events were faded due to a dispute arisen between the Coalition and the President. This is that the Coalition reminded the President that it is Coalition’s right to nominate a person for the Prime Minister as a force forming political majority of the Parliament. Breach of this primary right attract attention from other political parties and the coalition because they noticed a slip to the form of presidential governance gradually. But the MPRP did not express their position due to their long effort toward solution of Golomt bank problems and Erdenet mining issues.
This event extended shortly. On 27-28 August the coalition parties nominated Mr. R. Amarjargal for the Prime Minister and introduced to the President on 2 September. But did not succeed in votes. 15 days later the Coalition agreed to nominate Mr. G. Ganhuyag and delivered their proposal to the President. But he could not succeed because of suspicion that he had driven a car while being under the influence of alcoholic beverage he had driven a car while being under the influence of alcoholic beverage although it was explained that he took too many pills of heart disease.
On 28 September 1998, the coalition agreed to nominate Mr. E. Bat-Uul, a MP and one of first leaders of first non-communist movement in Mongolia. On 30 September, President N. Bagabandi gave his answer rejecting Mr. Bat-Uul’s nomination. In the letter it was indicated that “Mr. E. Bat-Uul, member of Parliament protested termination of the government resolution #80. When the Parliament issued a decision to resign the cabinet E. Bat-Uul considered this decision wrong and rejected his nomination for the vice-speaker. This contradicts to appoint Mr. Bat-Uul as Prime Minister of the new government which shall correct errors made by the former cabinet”.
This position of the President was very interesting. He breached the right of a person to be elected because this MP expressed his views at the Parliament session. E. Bat-Uul, MP protested this and issued a notification stating that no MP should not be discriminated because of his position given at the parliament. But he did not pay attention to one thing. This was President’s worry on two banks. In other words the issues related to two banks were already resolved at Parliament session, so there was no need to correct errors made by the government concerning the bank issue. That is why there stayed something unclear which kind of “errors” of former cabinet should be corrected by the new Prime Minister.
So many persons from the coalition were nominated but their names were rejected by the President. This made political situation unstable and caused trouble for Mongols who used to prepare for wintering during autumn warm days. Public feelings were expressed by demonstrations and articles in free press. These feelings were heart at the opening session of the Parliament on October 1st 1998 and Mr. O. Dashbalbar, MP and Chairman of Mongolian Conservative party declared his intention on execution of some thousands Mongols.
The next day was a black day in history of Mongolia. On 2 October 1998, Mr. S. Zorig, MP, cabinet member and acting minister of infrastructure development, one of first leaders of Democratic movement was found slain.
Whole Mongolia went down depression and sorrow, and all newspapers and media informed this sorrowful event. These articles later made some people tell tales and expand with new titles.
On 8 October the coalition nominated D. Ganbold again while the president proposed names of 6 people for the Prime Minister. The next day member of Parliament majority expressed their support toward Mr. D. Ganbold’s nomination, signed a paper and delivered it to the President. 5 days later the president expressed his repeated rejection of Mr. D. Ganbold. The coalition sent a card to the president protesting his rejections.
One decision which should not be ignored was adopted a month ago. A law on press freedom discussed for a long time was approved by the parliament and the coalition freed the press and media out of state control. Starting from 1 January 1999 state and government declared freedom of press and media which became one of the gains achieved by the Democratic Union Coalition.
So the Democratic Union Coalition while holding power could declare reject government control under press and media, it was obviously one of rightfulness achieved by the Democratic Union Coalition. This freedom was given in accordance with the law on free press and it allowed people to think and express their views and ideas freely.
On 23 November 1998 the joint council meeting of the Erdenet mining corporation appointed Mr. D. Dorligjav as its general director. Also it was decided to provide wages to Mongolian and Russian workers equally for equal amount of work canceling former privilege of Russians. At this time the Constitutional court resolved an application made by Lamjav and closed an opportunity to be appointed as cabinet members for all MP-s.
The parties inside the Coalition had controversial opinions concerning next candidate- J. Narantsatsralt’s nomination for the Prime Minister. But after two meetings they decided to introduce his name to the president. The president agreed to introduce J. Narantsatsralt to the Parliament and on 9 December 1998 he succeeded to win majority polls.
So Ts. Elbegdorj a day earlier than the 9th anniversary of the Democratic movement handed in Janlav Narantsatsralt, third prime minister appointed from the coalition a government stamp along wit all the responsibility entitled to the position. This is the end of the 6th part of our program.
Part 7. National Interest And Parliament Solidarity
Aired on April 06, 2000. Duration: 20 minutes
The last seventh broadcasting on the strength and weakness of the Democratic Union Coalition is starting. Here we will explain what was the responsibility and objective of the third government of the Coalition and what was the reason to form the forth government of the coalition. Also we will stress on that how the parliament which was a place with constant disputes and contradictions came to a consensus on the edge of the XXI century.
On 9 December J. Narantsatsralt who was a mayor of the Ulaanbaatar city was appointed as Prime Minister. On 15 December the cabinet was formed and a person replacing the former mayor of the city was appointed.
On the 17 electorate S. Ouyn, sister of S.Zorig, a candidate of Democratic Union Coalition, won and B. Batbayar, acting minister of finance could resolve his claim on redressing of his name at court.
There were disputes among free newspapers and press arisen from property ownership and naming. On 22 January 1999 on the parliament session the law on casino which was approved a few months ago was terminated.
Termination of this law caused much financial trouble to the Mon Macao company which won the casino bidding recently, did not launch its activities, paid one bln. tugrics to state revenue and invested substantial amount for office and casino equipment installation. That is why the Mon macao company conducted a press-conference where there was a sign that the company might claim for its money already allocated.
The events occurred in January were around cattle theft on the northern border, disputes on casino matters, possible recovery of money spent on bidding and lobbying the MP-s when the law on casino was approved.
The newspaper Unen, Unuudor and Mongol news started a campaign to dissolve the parliament since February. These were newspapers opposing coalition. Free newspapers having a long-term experience and their advantage tried to disseminate suspicion and rumors. At this time a killer who slandered Mr. S. Zorig was not found and it caused more suspicion and rumors among public. So many events happened in January faded or influenced because or by of this huge flow of suspicion.
The coalition felt that it would face difficult problems before the 1999 spring session opening. It was clear that the MPRP group will make effort to dissolve the parliament which was widely announced during a parliament session break lasted for 2.5 months. This would hinder the session and display to public a strong opposition force within the parliament. When the parliament majority and minority were fighting in this way causing trouble to each other the national interest left behind and faded and populism expanded. Many people noticed it and urged MP-s to work efficiently during parliament sessions.
On 5 April 1999 the Parliament began its spring session and the main sensation was as expected that N.Enkhbayar, MPRP Chairman called for national referendum on possible dissolving the Parliament. Ts.Elbegdorj, chairman of the MNDP and the Chairof the majority in the parliament came from America unexpectedly and gave speech in which he raised issue on corruption widely for surprise of journalists. He indicated importance of creation of legal environment for corruption combating. On behalf of the Cabinet J.Naratsatsralt, Prime Minister said it is right to fight corruption from top and expressed his hope to have parliament’s prompt decision in certain case.
So the Chief of a Coalition group in the Parliament and the Prime Minister both agreed the importance of corruption combating but they proposed different ways of implementation. In other words Ts.Elbegdorj considered that corruption combating should start with system renovation at enforcement agencies while J.Naratsatsralt stressed on needs to attract the public in corruption combating. Three days later after the spring session opening L.Tsog, Justice Minister sent a letter to the Parliament on suspending legal power of some MP-s. He introduced this paper not giving detailed materials, description, resolution and notes related to this case in accordance with the criminal procedural code. Even separate cases concerning D.Battulga, S.Batchuluun and D.Battulga’s suspension were not introduced to the parliament.
The Speaker of the Parliament introduced it immediately to the parliament session for discussion, the Minister of Justice did not have a right to introduce, so the paper was signed by Mr.Altangerel, Police Colonel, then it was written in a form to influence the audience as the case was related to Zorig’s assassination. When this paper was introduced the audience it was unclear how to decide the issue promptly, because there was no enough legal basis for resolving such an issue.
The reason given by law enforcement agencies was not clear to MP-s and they had to vote not being aware of the case details and did not know whether the MP-s decided to deprive legal powers of three members with whom they were sitting at one table during 3 years. The case which began as Zorig’s case, continued to be a Corruption matter ended with taxation matter. This was just the beginning of whole case matter and it examined independence of state and human rights. The issue which was not proved extended so much because of rumors created in the society and expected punishment among public and finally led to violation of human rights. This was an unfortunate for the Democratic Union Coalition.
It was a regrettable truth that many of members of the Democratic Union Coalition did not understand yet how much calmness is required to resolve human rights issue which was declared from the beginning of democratic revolution by themselves. Even some of them pursued Lenin’s theory on that the goal is justified the ways of doing.
When the legal power of 3 MP-s was suspended they were detained at Gants-Hudag pre-trial detention center. At this time several women declared as they were Zorig’s lovers, the public obtained more information on Gants-Hudag, Also human rights issue began to attract people’s attention. The next day of suspension of legal power of three MP-s the apartment door of Mr.Enkhbayar was broken, 3 warehouses at Erdenet Mining Corporation were exploded. Since that time there were rumors on possible resigning Mr.Enkhbold, Chief of the State Property Committee who had a strong position on Erdenet’s issues.
On 21 April 1999 Z.Enkhbold, Chief of the State Property Committee, member of the political council of the MSDP was resigned. Earlier he had contradiction with President Bagabandi and the presidential office sent a letter to the government to take measures.
Three days later the MNDP conducted its regular session. The main issue discussed at this session was whether to pursue the principle of appointing ruling party leader as Cabinet Chief. This session amended the party charter with gender issues. The key issue which caused disputes among members were whether boots should fit feet or feet should fit boots. Because Ts.Elbegdorj was appointed as Prime Minister since he was a leader of the MNDP while J. Narantsatsralt was elected as leader of the party because he was appointed as Prime Minister.
In the end the members came to a conclusion to keep boots and feet together anyway and J. Narantsatsralt was appointed the third leader of the MNDP. When the new person started to lead the MNDP the MP-s elected from the MSDP informed on their intention to participate in parliament activities independently. Three days later D. Odkhuu, Chairman of the Mongolian part of the Mongolian-Russian joint venture, Erdenet mining corporation was resigned.
In April there were many replacements and the public attention was brought to the parliament. In May 1999 customs duties of 5 per cent were imposed on imported goods and the MP-s started to discuss seriously on changes in banking system. In May and July 1999 Mongolia had many honorable guests from Asia and donors had its meeting in Ulaanbaatar and expressed their wish to assist and support Mongolia.
On 15 July 1999 when people were busy with receiving guests and celebrating national holiday a sudden event occurred at the parliament session. N. Enkhbayar, chief of the parliament minority declared wrongdoing of Mr. Narantsatsralt reading his letter sent to Mr. Maslukov, first deputy of the Russian Prime Minister on 19 January 1999. Parliament discussed this issue which was the main reason to resign the third Prime Minister of Coaltition.
What was Narantsatsralt’s fault?
1. He accepted privatization made by the Russian side toward the Erdenet mining corporation which was waiting for arbitration. And his acceptance was a totally different position from that of which was pursued by previous cabinets of the coalition.
2. Accepting Russian decision to privatize 49 per cent of the Russian part of the Erdenet mining corporation for only US$ 240 000 meant that 51 per cent which belongs to the Mongolian part could be sold approximately for US$ 250 000 or 250 000 mln. Tugrics which was not profitable at all.
3. The Mongolian government having continuously been demanded its legal right from Russian part to inform the Mongolian part on decision to privatize 49 per cent and this effort was destroyed by Narantsatsralt’s letter and national interest of Mongolia was left behind.
4. J. Narantsatsralt requested in his letter to treat privatization of the Mongolian part “in this way” and this could be explained as conspiracy.
5. J. Narantsatsralt wrote this letter in Russian and violated the rules of official document writing in Mongolian origin.
6. All Prime Ministers who worked before J. Narantsatsralt usually decides this kind of state issues regarding international conventions and agreements at the cabinet meeting, but J. Narantsatsralt sent this letter himself not advising with anyone from his cabinet.
7. J. Narantsatsralt declared that he is not able to recall why he wrote this letter. This meant he does not understand his responsibility.
8. J. Narantsatsralt’s letter was sent to Mongolia by the Russian side, so there was suspicion that he wrote it alone by himself secretly.
So the parliament urged Mr. J. Narantsatsralt to correct his mistake and send another letter. But Mr. Narantsatsralt wrote a letter to Maslukov, did not mention any word that privatization made by the Russian part was not accepted by the Mongolian part and Mongolia wishes to enjoy its exclusive rights. That is why on 20 July 21 members of the parliament handed over a resolution on resignation of the Prime Minister.
When there were talks on possible resigning Mr. J. Narantsatsralt some MP-s Hulan, Ouyn, Erdenebileg and Ts. Gankhuyag protested the resignation. But 7 ministers of Narantsatsralt’s cabinet blaming his individual decision on this crucial matter twice expressed their wish not to cooperate with him anymore. So they decided to resign themselves.
On 21 July 1999 J. Narantsatsralt was resigned and his ministers were turned to acting ministers. However the parliament concluded that this letter which was sent violating the rules official document writing could bring extensive damage to national interests and international agreements and other related legislation. It was very unfortunate to hear this conclusion by the ruling Coalition because this wrongdoing was done by the Prime Minister appointed by the coalition. On the other hand this was a important conclusion to put national interest higher than any other issues.
This was a remarkable event not only for the Democratic Union coalition but also Mongolian state and government because it tried to protect national interests and political responsibility was considered.
Nomination of Mr. R. Amarjargal for the forth Prime Minister of the coalition had some obstacles from the president’s side and by the end of June a new Prime Minister was appointed. The new Prime Minister was met by boiling heat and deficit in petroleum products. This was caused mainly by harvest period and winter approach. By 1 September he could form his cabinet and on November he was elected as chairman of the MNDP.
During this period of time Mr. O. Dashbalbar, MP died and whole Mongolia felt sorrow. Besides casino defendants were given sentence from primary court.
At the beginning of winter there was heavy snowfall in some aimags and sums. This harsh weather continued to happen so far and in this heavy snowfall cattle-breeders suffered with no enough food and fodder for their cattle. At this time the whole world was waiting for coming the new millenium and century. There were a number of remarkable events. The 10th anniversary of the Democratic movement and 10th anniversary of the Democratic socialist movement were celebrated nationwide.
24 December 1999 a remarkable political event happened in Mongolia. 67 members of the parliament introduced amendment to the Constitution and the parliament approved this amendment at 12.50 noon. This amendment was approved to come into effect beginning from July 10th of 2000, which will let the new Parliament who will be elected in July 2000 work without fundamental contradiction. According to the amendment the next parliament will not face many hard problems which was the main obstacles of continuous functioning of this parliament.
The parliament came to great consensus on the edge of the XXI century after three-year continuous disputes and contradictions. This consensus was aimed at respect of national interest, providing state permanent and continuous activities and parliamentary democracy. It seemed that in the XXI century Mongolian state and government will have solidarity.
With this our program covering all important decisions issued since the Democratic Union coalition took the power is ending. During 8 years since Mongolia accepted parliamentary governance the Democratic Union coalition when it was ruling the country could accumulate the most experience with its gains and loss and trained politicians.
Now the parliament and parliamentary governance has become so familiar to us and probably it would not be replaced with any other form of governance. The events occurred during the past 4 years had an impact on that. Mistakes and Rightfulness of past four years brought many good changes in our lives and taught many lessons to any political forces which would come to power in further. Thank you for joining us.