‘The law will form basis for administrative reform’

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On February 3, some members of the Standing Committee on State Structure reported on the work done by the standing committee during the last fall session.

Lawmaker L.Enkh-Amgalan said, “A total of 13 bills drafted by the Standing Committee on State Structure were approved. The largest law, the Law on Administrative and Territorial Units and Their Management, was approved. This law is considered as a minor Constitution. Due to the local elections, the discussion of the bill was postponed and suggestions of the newly formed local council members were reflected in the law. The biggest reform of the law was the transfer of power to local governments, which has been talked about for many years. The reason for the lack of local development is the lack of budget, property and personnel authority. Therefore, this law established three powers at the local level: budget, property, and personnel.”

“Parliament also passed the Law on Presidential Election, one of the major laws. The Law on Development Policy and Planning was also approved. The Standing Committee on State Structure issued a resolution to implement the law. Accordingly, the newly formed government was instructed to establish a Ministry of Development. Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene said that the new ministry will be established in the fall. The lack of sustainable development policies in the past has been a major obstacle to the country’s development.”

“Some standing committees jointly organized discussions on the implementation of the e-transition of all public services. The e-transition will eliminate corruption and bribery. Members of the standing committee met with the Ambassadors of Russia, Canada, the US, Japan and the UK to Mongolia to discuss the issue of vaccinating civil servants who are facing the pandemic. First of all, there are more than 20,000 civil servants to be vaccinated.”

Noting that the Law on Administrative and Territorial Units and Their Management of Mongolia will come into force on January 1, 2022, lawmaker J.Sukhbaatar said, “There is a lot of preparation to ensure the implementation of the law. Some provisions will take effect in 2024. Particularly, the provision related to bag mayors will be implemented in 2024. In addition, the provision, which stipulates that soum councils will not form a political party caucus will come into force after the 2024 parliamentary election. The law shall form the basis for administrative reform. About 300 laws will be amended following this law. In the past, the provision, which states that provinces, soums, the capital city, and districts have specific functions provided by law, has been insufficient. This is one of the main reasons why Mongolia’s accountability system has been lost for many years.”

“We followed the principle that public administration should be combined with local self-governance. We also seek to strengthen local governance in all forms of ownership, finance and budget. For the first time, a protection mechanism was established. It means that a representative of local government was established. It further represents the interests of local self-governing bodies. The provision on increasing the prime minister’s participation in the nomination of higher-level mayors is the most criticized part in the Law on Administrative and Territorial Units and Their Management. Therefore, the president’s veto will be discussed during the upcoming spring session. The law will also increase citizen participation.”

Lawmaker N.Enkhbold emphasized that the Law on Presidential Election was approved, which means the Law on the President must be discussed during the spring session.

“It means clarifying what powers and responsibilities the president will have. The constitutional amendment states that a citizen of Mongolia, who reached the age of 50, and resided in the country for at least the last five years, can be elected as president for a single term of six years. The law provides for the participation of citizens abroad in the presidential election. We worked closely with the Office of the President to pass the law. The working group met several times and reviewed each provision. A person serving a sentence or have committed a crime of corruption shall not run for the presidency. In addition to machine counting, all votes will be counted manually,” he said.

Misheel Lkhasuren