Former head of government Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, from the Mongolian People’s Party which has already won the legislative elections in 2020, was elected president. The election was marked by the context of anti-Covid measures and a strong abstention.
Former Mongolian Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa largely won the presidential election in Mongolia with more than two-thirds of the votes, according to official results announced on June 10.
This is a victory for the Mongolian People’s Party (PPM), a center-left party founded by former communists and which had not won a presidential election for 12 years.
These results seal the return to business of Khurelsukh Ukhnaa who resigned earlier this year after a scandal related to the strict anti-epidemic measures taken by his government. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest the fate of a young mother who had just given birth and had been transported by freezing cold to an infectious disease treatment center with her newborn baby.
Consecutive victories for the Mongolian People’s Party
Reinforced by the effectiveness of anti-Covid 19 measures, the PPM largely won the legislative elections of June 2020 at the expense of the Democratic Party (liberal-conservative) of outgoing President Khaltmaa Battulga. The latter, a former world champion of sambo, a martial art created in the USSR, did not have the right to stand for re-election due to amendments to the Constitution adopted in 2019 which limit the presidency to a single six-year term.
The main rival of the winner, the environmental candidate Enkhbat Dangaasuren, received only around 20% of the vote. This digital economy entrepreneur relied on supporting young people in a country plagued by air pollution and desertification. The green candidate’s campaign, however, was compromised in the home stretch by the virus he contracted, forcing him to observe a quarantine and cancel the televised debate which was to take place a week before the poll.
59% of some 2 million voters went to the polls on June 9, a particularly low score. The incessant rivalries between parties and anti-Covid measures dissuaded many voters from fulfilling their civic duty, according to political scientist Gerelt-Od of the National University of Education, quoted by AFP.
After being largely contained, the new coronavirus has experienced a resurgence in recent weeks and Mongolia now has some 300 deaths. Vaccination is progressing rapidly, however, 90% of the adult population having already received one dose and 60% two doses.