A big step towards “Systematic Change”

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Recommendations were made based on the results of the national consultation “Let’s decide by consultation” organized in two stages. Generally, the authorities are one step closer to achieving their goal of increasing the number of members of Parliament by amending the Constitution. They also raised the pledge to conduct the mixed electoral system instead of a 100 percent majority, but a proportional or a combination of the majority version. They define these as “system change” in general, and it can be said that they are remembered by the public.

In connection with the change of the system, the authorities started a national consensus, meeting with representatives of civil society organizations, political parties, and protesters one after another, and gathered the opinions of citizens through a recent consultation. In order to change the constitution, social consensus must be met. Therefore, at the end of last year, the Parliament approved the resolution on conducting a consultative referendum and holding a consultation referendum with representatives of the citizens on the identification of pressing social and economic problems, their priority, and the way to solve them, on the topic “Let’s decide by consultation”, which is a direct consultation on amendments to the Constitution. But it was obvious from the beginning that it would only look at the big picture. In other words, the problem facing the society and the economy is to change the system, and for that, it can be said that the authorities have prepared the “soil” to do what they are talking about, just by saying, “Let’s amend and improve the Constitution.”

The recommendation was made by the Consultative Council, which conducted the poll, and handed it over to the Chairman of the Parliament, G.Zandanshatar. The results of the 22-question survey were compiled and reported by the National Statistics Office. Chairman of the Parliament said, “Mongolians managed to gather in one hall. Citizens say that it was an event that brought democracy back to life. I am sure it will be a good result. This event has shown that it is possible to reach a social consensus by selecting and participating representatives of the entire community from all corners of the country”. He then asked the Consultative Council to submit their proposals within on February 7. It is recommended to the authorities to adopt the laws without delay in accordance with the amendments made to the Constitution in 2019. In other words, he reported, “It is good to see the results of the previously approved amendments. Therefore, there is no need to revise the Constitution.”

In January 2020, the Parliament approved the second resolution on bringing the legislation into line with the amendments to the Constitution and measures to be taken in connection with it. There is a decree in the appendix with a detailed list of which laws are to be amended and changed. It includes the approval of the Law on the National Wealth Fund, but the draft has not been submitted so far. Last spring, then Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry, G.Yondon, reported that the project was discussed and supported at the Cabinet meeting, but it was rejected later. Minister G.Yondon emphasized that when developing the draft law, which is responsible for regulating the relationship between the revenue from the use of subsoil resources and the National Wealth Fund, and its enrichment through the financing of financially efficient projects and programs, as well as the issuance of securities, it was coordinated with the common principles and policy planning of more than 100 foreign funds. The survey asked two related questions to the participants: “Do you agree that it is important to direct the distribution of the National Wealth Fund to reduce income inequality, reduce poverty, increase employment, and improve social security?” and “Would you support the management team of the National Wealth Fund is not politically, independent and professional and working under public control?” Most of the participants agreed with it and expressed their support.

Also, in the second resolution of the Parliament of 2020, the Law on Political Parties will be revised, and the Law on Financing of Political Parties will be approved separately. In fact, the working group (established by the order of the Chairman of the Parliament and headed by its member Ts.Munkhtsetseg) has already prepared these drafts and handed them over to the head of the Presidential Office, Ya.Sodbaatar. President U.Khurelsukh included in his agenda to sponsor a bill related to deepening the reform of political parties, improving ethics and disciplinary responsibility, and making their financing more transparent, so the draft was submitted by the president and the head of the office headed the working group almost a year ago. However, the head of the President’s Office will not implement the project, and the Parliament will not include it in the agenda. In this poll, “Do you support the urgent need for legal reforms to make the funds, sources of income, and spending of political parties transparent and under public control?” question was asked. Two questions were asked from the participants.

Citizens also supported it. Basically, it has been said that the legal framework of political parties should be reformed even before the consultative polls and the amendments to the Constitution adopted in 2019. Unfortunately, successive rulers, even during the last three parliaments, have not gone above and beyond to talk about it. It can be said that politicians and parties simply did not want to lift a finger.

In addition, citizens and organizations should abolish the system of obtaining permission for peaceful demonstrations and gatherings and notify them in advance, guarantee the freedom of expression and publication, create opportunities for citizens abroad to vote in parliamentary elections, decentralize the city of Ulaanbaatar, and develop regionalization. In order to reform the administration, ensure gender equality, many trivial things related to the citizenship of Mongolia born and raised abroad, etc. This is what we talked about.

In any case, the aforementioned and discussed issues confirm that the current authorities, who made amendments to the Constitution more than three years ago and are responsible for its implementation, are now openly expressing their desire to re-enact the law. Even before holding a consultation, nobody said that we should have a national wealth fund and reformed political parties and taught us how to do it. The authorities are not doing what they should be doing. However, the two newer issues included in the survey were related to the creation of an independent government review system that works on behalf of the people, and the legalization of the declaration of expenditures by public workers in addition to their assets and income. Chairman of the Parliament G.Zandanshatar, opening the second round of the consultation meeting, said, “In countries where the rule of law has been established and justice is established, institutions for the protection of civil and common interests work effectively. However, in countries with relatively weak rule of law, the researchers believe that it is appropriate to implement monitoring and inspection by creating a constitutional institution.”

In accordance with the amendments to the Constitution approved in 2019, the Law on Parliamentary Inspection and Inspection was approved. As a result, a temporary review committee has been established in the parliamentary structure. As the Speaker of the Parliament said, now it is “one step higher” and having an independent organization that will independently implement state responsibility and control. The participants said that there were a lot of suggestions that it should only be applied to high-ranking officials in relation to whether or not public workers should declare their expenses, but this was included in the recommendations to create a legal framework for everyone to declare without distinction. In other words, many of the participants expressed their views that it is appropriate to support, legalize and create these legal frameworks.

Dashmaa D