If a good person does not run in an election, the bad ones win it. If voters do not choose how their life is going to be, someone else will do it for them. Mongolian parliamentary elections and municipal elections have taken place. A total of 498 candidates were running for 76 seats in the parliament, and 69 of them were independents. There were 15 political parties running in the election, and only the Democratic Party (DP) and the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) had a candidate in all 76 constituencies, each of which had one mandate. One fourth of all candidates were women, whereas one fifth owned a business. Also, there were six wrestlers, four singers, two poets, an archer, an actor, a TV anchor, and a painter. Approximately 1.8 million of our 3 million strong population were eligible to vote in this election, and the turnout threshold is typically 50 percent. It should be noted that the 2012 elections had a turnout of 65 percent. What is noteworthy about the 2016 elections? Six people competing for one seat in Parliament is not so new; it was seven in the previous election. What is special about this election is the number of independents. Compared to the previous election, the number of independent candidates increased from 26 to 69. This demonstrates that our society cares about politics to a much greater extent today. It can also be said that the DP and MPP, which have had ruling power one after the other, are not able to grow as political institutions, are lacking in capability, and are seeing their reputations plummet. Also, people are actively looking for brand new political leaders after waiting too long for the DP and MPP to become social leaders that connect society to the government.
NEW MONGOLIA IS LOOKING FOR NEW POLITICAL LEADERS
With their previous choices and the results they yielded, people now understand that the corrupt authorities who make false promises cannot resolve Mongolia’s socio-economic issues today. Having realized this notion, people are looking for a brand new political force. The independents who are running for office today are the first to fight for transparent and fair governance, and against deep-seated corruption and false democracy. Having understood what society needs and what people want, they are fighting for the dreams of the people. I am confident that there are many future leaders amongst those who took on this fight. It is apparent that they are walking a step ahead of our society and attempting to take care of longstanding problems by influencing the public and their activities. These citizens who are running as independents are devoting themselves to their cause, and have lit their own torches in society. One of the independents succeeded in securing a seat in the election. If more than eight of them had been elected as MPs, they could have formed a caucus. I do hope that such a caucus could one day be set up and truly oversee what Parliament and the Cabinet are doing and serve as an important opposition force, which Mongolia has not had in the last 25 years. Regardless of whether they won or lost, the independents will remain active Mongolian citizens and become heroes to their friends and families for challenging themselves and inspiring pride. Mongolians are thanking these independent candidates.
POLITICAL PARTIES STIFLED BY CORRUPTION
When we say that we need strong leadership, this means that we are missing inclusive governance where the rule of law is followed and legislation treats everyone equally and fairly. In a country like Mongolia, where everyone plays individually as opposed to as a team, this duty of inclusive governance should be fulfilled by political and economic institutions. When political and economic institutions are extractive and serve the minority in a society, global thinkers say a nation truly struggles. We have seen many elections, but political factions inside political parties have always ruled Mongolia. These people who join hands on the basis of their personal interests, and to fill their wallets, have been overthrowing the government, making false promises, and making money from public funds directly and indirectly. They see their political party financing as an auction, where public property, land, government positions, and public tenders are available to the highest bidder. It has become particularly interesting today, because they have now started to collect the capital they need for the future by borrowing and embezzling. When will state-owned companies, which are in fact governed by political parties, be privatized so that there will be supervision and oversight? Many in our society today are gaining more clarity and losing faith in big political parties because they continue to keep their political party financing secret and allow public funds to be compromised. It has been 16 years of false promises and refusal to take off the “double deel”. Therefore, there are currently no leaders that are truly respected and followed by people. Instead of strengthening the government’s structure as an institution, they have been changing it to benefit their own interests. This completely changes the personnel within the government. It has proven through dozens of recently revealed secret recordings, experiments, and smear campaigns that our political leaders betray each other while wearing a smile. If people in our government can secretly see what senior statesmen are up to, anything can be done to us, the people. If there was recorded behavior that should have been called out, why isn’t it shared with the public right away? If releasing these tapes is advantageous only to the political opponent holding them and used to help win an election, who have these politicians been working for? Why have our statesmen become such wimps? Mongolians are hoping to see jobs created after this election. Having a job helps you put food on the table and achieve your dreams. Our society understands that jobs are created by the private sector rather than the government. If this is the case, why is the government pressuring the private sector with various taxes and feeding from these taxes to pay for the government’s immeasurable debt? Why are they providing soft loans and easy money to specific individuals instead of supporting fair competition? Why is the government sending people who have just turned 50 years old to retirement when they are the most experienced people in their fields? Why can’t we set up internet access centers in their neighborhoods and give them training for new skills? Hundreds of such training centers could be established with a small portion of the money that is being handing out as free cash. If we get experienced elders work, it will have a positive impact on our labor resources. Why are there no special courses or training dedicated to supporting the youth in competing internationally? Are we going to continue begging foreign countries to hire our laborers when our working population is only one million? Why are these and many other social issues being neglected? Mongolians today need to have faith in tomorrow and in ourselves. Our society needs a government that can realize this faith. Realizing faith in tomorrow requires having a stable, reliable, and non-corrupt government with respectable and likeable leaders. We took part in the parliamentary elections with these expectations. Everyone should have cast their vote in this election of clarity. Trans. by B.AMAR Please visit D.Jargalsaikhan’s website: jargaldefacto.com.