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Who should you vote for?

By B.KHASH-ERDENE

First of all, I hope our readers had a very festive Tsagaan Sar. Now that all the hustle and bustle of Tsagaan Sar is over, the public’s attention will surely shift back to the upcoming elections.
Political parties are preparing for the elections by forming alliances and merging. Before Tsagaan Sar, the Democratic Party, led by the Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold, joined with the Civil Will Green Party and Mongolian National Democratic Party. On February 9, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, led by former President N.Enkhbayar, signed a cooperation agreement with the Mongolian Green Party, meaning that they will run as one party in the parliamentary, provincial and capital city council elections.
Before Tsagaan Sar, there were rumors that the Mongolian People’s Party, the main opposition in Parliament with 26 seats, would join with the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party. The two parties have a connected history, but disputes among the parties’ younger generation have prevented the merger.
Head of the Mongolian People’s Party and Deputy Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold said, “The merging of the two parties isn’t decided by N.Enkhbayar and M.Enkhbold alone.” Plus, MP of the Mongolian People’s Party Ts.Nyamdorj is an outspoken antagonist of N.Enkhbayar’s party, once calling the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party a “shalbaag” (puddle).
Therefore, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party has decided to join hands with the less prominent Green Party. This is not the first time the party has joined forces with other political parties to win seats in Parliament. The Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party joined with the Mongolian National Democratic Party in the 2012 parliamentary election to win 11 seats.
No doubt that N.Enkhbayar and O.Bum-Yalagch, the head of the Green Party, hope to win the same number of seats in Parliament in the upcoming election, but many are skeptical of whether the parties can muster up enough supporters and candidates to compete against the Democratic Party and Mongolian People’s Party.
The one advantage the alliance with the Green Party has given the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party is that they no longer have to scramble to get a better place on the ballot for its candidates, as the Green Party is the third registered party of Mongolia.
The fact that the Mongolian People’s Party is not interested in joining forces with the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party is viewed by some politicians as an indication that the Mongolian People’s Party is waiting for N.Enkhbayar’s resources to be drained.
Only a handful of relevant politicians and high ranking officials remain from N.Enkhbayar’s circle of allies, including E.Batshugar (N.Enkhbayar’s son and Deputy Governor of Mongol Bank), Minister Ts.Oyunbaatar, and former Deputy Minister B.Tulga. The rest of his “friends” are said to be keeping their distance from N.Enkhbayar, and the rumor is that he will eventually become irrelevant.

TSAGAAN SAR: A PLATFORM FOR ELECTION DISCUSSIONS

Amidst all these alliances and election conundrums, the forgotten element seems to be the ideals and values of the candidates. Everyone is pretty much saying the same thing. They all say they will restore the nation.They will improve the business environment, keep the benefits of natural resources within the country, house the poor, support the old and the disabled, fight corruption, build infrastructure, protect the environment, provide better education, get us out of the economic recession, and give all three million people of Mongolia a prosperous life. Their goals are identical, as are their means to achieve it. But it is not about goals anymore, it is about who will be in charge. The obvious question is: Who?
During Tsagaan Sar, I had the chance to meet a variety of people from all ages and varied social groups. The election was not a popular conversation topic, and many people just resigned from the idea of talking about political issues. I’ve observed that the older my conversation partners were, the more cynical their perception of the circumstances of Mongolia were. Middle aged and younger people echoed the sentiment of older people, but with less visceral reactions. At the end of our conversations, many would end with the bewildered sentiment “society is bad these days”.
Everyone had their own idea of what should be done to address Mongolia’s problems, but the one conversation that stood out to me among all the conversations about the election and politics that I had during Tsagaan Sar was the one with my uncle, Turuu, who is 52 this year. He had the most unconventional view on politics. He said that the Mongolian people think that things are getting worse when, in fact, things are better than ever today.
“When the housing loan started, people said ‘this is a ploy to put the people of Mongolia in debt’. Would you rather live with your parents until 40, when you can afford a house?” he asked me. “The fact that young families can get a mortgage and move out from their parents in their twenties is a great opportunity. This opportunity was not available in my time.”
“People say corruption is worse than ever because there is are incidents being reported more often than ever before. But, the truth is that more people are getting caught taking bribes than ever before, whereas, in the past, we didn’t even know embezzlement was happening because everything was closed up,” he added.
Turuu explained that politicians have a difficult job of keeping the peace in a nation with three million people’s clashing views. What he said was something to the effect of, “Politicians can’t keep everyone happy, so they aim to make at least the majority happy to stay in power.”
This means that the interests of some will always be neglected. This is the flaw in democracy. Appealing to the majority is not necessarily fair. If the majority does not contribute to the economy sufficiently, the minority that does (the hand that feeds) is sacrificed for the majority. This is when democracy fails because the majority doesn’t necessarily make the right decision. The participants of democracy, the people, need to be educated to make the right decisions as a majority. The right voices must be heard among the discordant bids for the election. So in the end, who should we vote for?
Turuu’s sage advice to me on who to vote for was simple: “Vote for the one who promises the most and who is least likely to back out of his promise.”

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=18406

Posted by on Feb 15 2016. Filed under Opinion, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Who should you vote for?”

  1. Very realistic and clear. Happy New Year! !

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