And yet again, the current Parliament is also willing to change the legislation on election

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If you look at the records that show when changes have been made to the Elections Law, it will show that these are made in the year before an election year or on the same year as an election. It has now become a “custom” for Parliament to revise the Law on Elections at such time. The reason is obvious -- the majority party wants to make sure to increase its chances of attaining more seats in Parliament.

Except for some small changes, the last major revision was made in 2015, the year before the 2016 parliamentary election, which changed the whole election legislation. In this respect, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) and the European Parliament (EP) reported in their International Election Observation Mission, “Following an inclusive process, a new election law was adopted on December 25, 2015, which consolidated various election laws, a positive development toward establishing a cohesive electoral framework”.

The change of the legislation unified separate laws for the different election levels into one law governing all types and levels of an election of the country. The current law’s scope stated by its provision is, “The purpose of this law is to define the basic principles and procedures of the election of the State Great Khural of Mongolia (hereinafter referred to as ‘election of the State Great Khural’), the President of Mongolia (hereinafter referred to as ‘Presidential election’), capital city, aimag (province), soum (sub-province) and district (hereinafter referred to as ‘election of the Citizens’ Representatives’ Khural’), and regulate the preparation for and conduct of these elections,” according to Article 1.1 of the Law on Elections.

On the other hand, the Constitutional Court of Mongolia (CCM) decided that the mixed electoral system violated the Constitution of Mongolia and instructed that the election system had to be majoritarian to make elections accord with the Constitution. Following CCM’s decision, Parliament also adopted the amendment with regard to the election system change.

And yet again, the current Parliament is also willing to change the legislation on election. On October 24, 2018, member of Parliament and Head of Parliament’s Standing Committee on State Structure D.Lundeejantsan (who actually was in Parliament which made the last “big” change to the election legislation) mentioned that a commission established on February 1, 2017 drafted proposals for parliamentary review and also stated that he holds the position that these elections at different levels should be governed by separate laws because each level of elections has its own character and procedures. Furthermore, he mentioned that the commission carried out a study and sent forms to 28 political parties, 16 governmental organizations and nine non-governmental organizations. Eight governmental organizations, eight political parties and two non-governmental organizations responded.

In his statement, D.Lundeejantsan also mentioned that the proposals will be discussed during Parliament’s fall session. However, given the recent political movements and drama, Parliament did not have time to discuss the amendments to the Law on Elections, and Parliament was to discuss the proposed changes in its spring session.

The current proposals to change the Elections Law from unified to separate (independent) laws for each levels of election such as parliamentary elections, presidential election, and all the other local elections (such as elections at capital city, province, district, and sub-province level, called election of the Citizens’ Representatives’ Khural). These proposals completely reverse of the huge changes that the previous Parliament made in 2015.

The issue here is firstly, instability of legislation which leads to legislation defect that cannot be “fixed” by courts as Mongolia has a civil law system with no system of precedent -- the practices/ judgments of one court shall not bind other courts. Pundits suspect that they do not just want to separate the laws, but will also put regulations which will give them an advantage over the competition in 2020.

On the other hand, Parliament will discuss the proposed amendments to the Constitution, which could also reflect on the decision that CCM made with regard to the election system. Therefore, it is also possible that the Elections Law proposals contain rulings on the election system which the majority party put forward will give them an upper hand in the coming elections, especially the special election set to take place in June in Khentii Province.

Myagmardorj Buyanjargal
Myagmardorj is a freelance writer who holds a Bachelor of Law Degree from the National University of Mongolia and Bachelor of Science Degree in engineering in mining technology from the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.

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