Low voter turnout leaves City Council seats open after Wednesday’s election

President Ts.Elbegdorj voting on October 19

Voting for Citizen’s Representative Council Elections (CRCE) took place from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on October 19, throughout Mongolia. A number of seats on councils remained empty after ballots were counted, as several candidates were not able to reach the required 50 percent of the vote from the electorate and candidates in many soums tied with their opposition.

On October 20, Head of the Mongolian General Election Commission (MGEC) Ch.Sodnomtseren held a briefing about the elections but did not give an official statement about any election results impacted by low voter turnout.

He did speak about laws and regulations concerning publicizing the results of the CRCE. He said that procedures to announce the results of these elections are different from parliamentary and president elections, and that there were too many candidates for this election, so tabulating the results of the election will take time.

He noted that according to the Law on Elections, the election commissions of soums and districts must present their Citizen’s Representative Councils with official election results within five days of the elections, and Citizen’s Representative Councils must make election results public within seven days of their submission by election commissions.

According to unofficial reports, Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) candidates won a majority of seats in over 200 soums, out of over 330 soums, and Democratic Party (DP) candidates won the most votes in the remaining soums. Both parties saw narrow victories for seats in the six districts of Ulaanbaatar which reached 50 percent voter turnout.

Voters who did not participate in the October 19 elections are being encouraged to go to the polls on Sunday to vote for candidates to fill 57 Citizen’s Representative Council seats in soums and 78 seats in Ulaanbaatar, in an effort to reach 50 percent participation. Sunday’s votes will be added to the results collected from Wednesday’s ballots.

Ulaanbaatar’s Nalaikh, Bagakhangai, and Baganuur district elections saw 50 percent voter turnout, with the exception of voting for one seat in Baganuur. MPP candidates won the most seats in these districts.

New elections will also take place for 57 seats in 19 provinces on October 29 for elections that resulted in tied votes. All eligible voters are encouraged to go to polling stations for these elections, where new ballot papers will be provided for the 57 empty seats.

Dashdulam, a polling place worker in the 4th khoroo of Bayanzurkh district, said, “Where are the people? Why did they not come out to vote? Today is a day off for this election throughout Mongolia. People are responsible for voting in this election, because a lot of money was budgeted for the election and many officials and observers spent their time on it, but voters didn’t carry out their responsibilities.”

Tumurkhuleg, a voter interviewed at a polling place, said, “People care about the parliamentary elections, but in reality, the Citizen’s Representative Council Elections are very important to the public, because the representatives are closer to the people and speaking for the challenges facing us, listening to their opinions, and meeting them face to face. Members of Parliament are very far from us, because their responsibility is to pass laws. Unfortunately, people’s perceptions are different from reality. They need to come here to vote.”