Mongolia needs vision and accurate policy for recovering economy, says Deputy Speaker of Parliament
The following interview with Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Head of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) M.Enkhbold covers timely issues in the Mongolian political world.
What kind of issues do you wish to discuss and resolve at the last meeting of the current Parliament?
It’s not the time to talk about what kind of issue Parliament should discuss. It’s the time to make a comprehensive evaluation of the past four years and look towards the future. We must now put an end to the crisis in the Mongolia society, economy and politics. Unless these crises are settled, it’ll lead to default and Mongolia will have no choice but to announce bankruptcy. We must contemplate why the economy, which amazed the whole world with its incredibly fast growth only four years ago, has ended to its current state.
Whether it is its location, population or natural resources, Mongolia has advantages for developing a free market society. Yet, Mongolia is caught up in debt, the public is discontent, and the governance is facing a crisis. This is an unhealthy phenomenon. I’m not talking about these things as the head of the opposition party. Everyone can see that the society is facing challenges and adverse scenes. The state’s operations have faced serious failures, the public has lost faith in the state, and the economy is in a very bad shape.
We have lost four whole years because of thoughtless politicians. I hope that the upcoming election will be conducted ethically and responsibly. In general, voters should change the way they look and evaluate politicians and change their voting criteria.
The MPP demanded to dismiss Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold, Head of the Democratic Party. Some say that it’s a political show. Is it important to dismiss the Speaker of Parliament when the election is due in less than two months?
Parliament is the state supreme body of Mongolia. The public elects members of Parliament as their representative. Our party can’t accept a speaker who treats everything from the political perspective, mistreats or is rude to other MPs elected by the public and fulfills his role politically. Two months are a long time. There are many things we have to resolve without losing a single day. Yet, the Speaker of Parliament announced an irregular meeting to discuss the burial of nuclear waste.
I’m sure that the public is aware that [our party] took this measure because unreasonable and unforgivable mistakes have been made repeatedly. In fact, being a Speaker of Parliament isn’t a personal issue. The Mongolian state has three major mistakes that need to be fixed that are more important than the economic difficulty.
Firstly, the reputation of the Mongolian state has degraded. The public’s confidence in the state has dropped and the immunity of state officials have weakened. Secondly, Mongolia’s reputation has fallen tremendously during this era of economic globalization. Mongolia, which has a rich history of statehood, has lost the confidence of investors, starting from Russian and Chinese investors, because of reckless mistakes by few immature people. Thirdly, the most concerning issues are the fact that the Constitutional Court, the sole protector and representative of the Constitution, made an illegal, dirty decision which had a political motive. It’s impossible to forgive this act of prioritizing political interests.
The parliamentary election will begin in less than two months. How is the MPP preparing for the election?
More than preparing for the election, our party is mainly focusing on recovering the nation from its dire situation. Many working groups have been established and are working well. The election will proceed as planned and life will continue just like it always does. The cycle for state changeover is approaching. The MPP is preparing for it by upholding a policy to support young personnel. Also, we’re concentrating on the political education of young people. Responsibility, integrity and ethics will become the most important criteria for new politicians.
Our working groups merged its platform, prepared for a longtime and passed it through the government’s regular session. The platform has been deemed feasible based on scientific calculations and knowledge. Our nation can develop if the whole nation can unite and strive to develop together with a comprehensive and common policy rather than through a single sector.
How are you choosing candidates from your party? Which is more important: membership or policy?
Our party has approached state affairs with a single motive and criteria for 95 years since its establishment. The criteria applies to candidates exactly the same. All opportunities from our party are all open to anyone with the aspiration to develop the nation and fight for its fundamental interests. Anyone can become a candidate from our party if they have the same objective and have the skills to strive towards it.
You said that Mongolia’s “crises” should be put to an end. When the price of mining raw materials have fallen all over the world, do you see any economic opportunities for Mongolia, which is heavily dependent on mining?
Mongolia is considered as a country with a small economy. Just like how it is easily facing crises because it doesn’t have a policy, it can easily develop. There are many solutions if we look at things broadly. The MPP is developing a special program to overcome the economic difficulty. Many organization and development works await us.
The broad economic policy should prioritize preparation instead of spending and enforce a solution to establish many pillars for our economy which is excessively dependent on mining. We should learn from the economic difficulty and resolve many issued from its foundation. As the economic model becomes based on knowledge, Mongolia should also expand and renew its fundamental economic policy.
It’s time to assess the fact that a cell phone is worth 40 tons of coal. We have to change Mongolia’s attitude for becoming stronger, more powerful and more developed, and learn to compete with the rest of the world. Mongolians can think like Asians and Europeans. We inherited many advantages from nomadic lifestyle. Mongolians are also ranked quite high through intellectual capability and potential. It’s possible for us to become one of the leading business competitors in the world using these advantages.
The MPP aims to develop a long-term fundamental reform policy, but the current political situation and factions are hindering large scale reform programs. Is there a way to resolve this?
The MPP doesn’t quarrel, but does its job. We motivated and led the public to prosperity in the last century. The party was able to nullify debt, start big projects, and make the Mongolian economy grow rapidly in this century as well. We’re a unity that serves the fundamental interests of Mongolia unlike the ruling party that places its interests first and fights among itself.
The MPP will start big infrastructure projects for joining Asia and Europe and intensify major mining projects consistent to Mongolia’s fundamental interests. The economy will be expanded by developing many supporting sectors, including specialized agriculture, renewable energy, IT and intellectual product production.
More importantly, Mongolia can be developed into a technologically advanced country. There are sufficient opportunities for this.
Mongolia has been discussing debt-related issues for the last two years nonstop. Experts say that Mongolia’s foreign debt has reached a detrimental level. How can debt burdens be facilitated and resolved?
Lately, the media has been reporting that most of the state’s debt was created by the MPP in the last four years. People should know that this is a cunning method to bring MPP’s reputation down before the election. Mongolians will have to repay the substantial debts called bond. That bond with high interest rate was borrowed and spent irrationally. The ruling party is pushing away the blame and doing a political show instead of managing it in this important period. The MPP hasn’t been supporting proposals to take our additional loans to lessen the debt burden of the public in the past few years.
I’m certain that the MPP can help the nation overcome the current economic difficulty as we’re looking for many ways to pay off the debt and lessen debt burdens. Several solutions can be seen if the nation’s interests are put first. The ruling party prioritized personal and faction interests over national interests and wasn’t able to look over their internal conflict, causing Mongolia to reach its current state.
You recently visited China and Russia. Did you discuss cooperation on big projects with them?
I was able to make a couple of negotiations. I’m sure people know that the relationship between Russia and China have become very close and that they are co-launching large projects that encapsulate the whole of Eurasia. Mongolia’s participation in these world-scale projects is very important. A huge opportunity is right ahead of us if we can determine a correct policy, analyze the current situation realistically, and make wise decisions.
I have started to observe positive tendencies in the relation between Russia and European countries, as well as the possibility that the price of raw materials from mining will recover globally. Experts view the fact that influential countries are increasing their budget for improving their defense is greatly impacting this. They also say that these measures will open opportunities for recovering the Mongolian economy. Mongolia only lacks a vision and a rational and correct policy.
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