N.ENKHBAYAR: A new Constitution is most beneficial solution

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The government was tasked to submit a draft amendment to the Constitution to Parliament within last year. However, the government working group drafted a new Constitution, which includes the issue of making Mongolia the “Republic of Mongolia”, causing public outrage. The first phase of the public consultative ballot commenced on January 26 to determine the social and economic problems of the country. The public suspects that the authorities plan to hold the consultative ballot regarding the constitutional amendments. Regarding the issue of a new Constitution, Chief Cabinet Secretariat D.Amarbayasgalan made a statement on January 25 and the working group led by former President N.Enkhbayar held a press conference on January 26.

N.Enkhbayar said, “Scientists, researchers, NGOs, sociologists and citizens are calling for a people-centered Constitution. The draft amendment to the Constitution that we developed reflects, ‘The time has come to move from a state-centered government to a people-centered government.’ We believe that replacing the 1992 Constitution with a new Constitution is the fastest and most beneficial solution for the people. Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene gave a speech at a recent public discussion. I understood that the main content of the premier’s speech was that a completely new Constitution must be drafted. More than 70 percent of the participants expressed that a completely new Constitution is needed, starting with a bicameral Parliament.”

“More than 20 parties signed a manifesto in support of reforming the Constitution. When the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party and Mongolian People’s Party merged more than a year ago, we also discussed this issue. We agreed that the constitutional crisis will turn into a political, social and economic crisis. The Constitution adopted in 1992 is very important. At that time, because of all external and internal conditions, we had no choice but to move to a completely new system. When drafting the 1992 Constitution, it was formulated to shift from a party-centered social relationship to a state-centered society. Thus, Parliament was formulated as the highest authority of the state. Over 32 years have passed since then. Unfortunately, the government got out of control due to the regulations written in the Constitution. The fact that the out-of-control government cannot control the people,” he added.

Chairman of the Civic Will-Green Party and member of the working group Ts.Gankhuyag informed, “The four parties joined together and combined the constitutional drafts developed in the last 10 years into a single draft. It is time to revise the 1992 Constitution. The majority of lawyers and scientists agree that the current law should be abolished. About 70 percent of the citizens who participated in the public discussion demanded a new Constitution. Therefore, the 1992 Constitution should be abolished.”

D.AMARBAYASGALAN: Government doesn’t intend to draft a new Constitution

Chief Cabinet Secretary D.Amarbayasgalan voiced, “Whenever the issue of amendments to the Constitution is raised, the people express that the Constitution should be renewed or amended. More specifically, the elders, who worked as deputy of the People’s Ikh Khural (former Parliament) and approved the democratic Constitution, propose to have a two-chamber Parliament. Some political parties talk about moving to a bicameral parliament. I met with constitutional scholars and got information. According to the information I received, political parties and constitutional scholars have written more than 10 types of new constitutions in the past 30 years. The government has no intention of drafting a new Constitution.”

Highlighting that a new Constitution will not be approved immediately after it is drafted, D.Amarbayasgalan emphasized, “This issue will be decided by the entire people of Mongolia. The current Constitution clearly states this issue. The concept of amending or writing a new Constitution should be well understood by the citizens. Constitutional amendments aim to solve pressing issues of the country by changing a few specific provisions. It is called a new constitution if more than 35 percent of the current Constitution is changed. In this sense, political parties demand the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) and the prime minister to write new Constitution or amend it.”

Chairman of MPP L.Oyun-Erdene previously expressed, “If MPP considers that there is a problem with the Constitution, it can decide on the issue of making certain changes based on the public consultation ballot. It is very doubtful whether it is possible to write a new Constitution and approve it in the current situation. When making a new Constitution, each clause is discussed. Constitutional scholars regularly say that this cannot be passed in a short period of time. Researchers view that if the Mongolian people believe that there is a need to write a new Constitution, it will take at least two to three years before it is approved. In that sense, in 2020, our party agreed that it is necessary to amend the Constitution to a certain extent, and increase the number of parliamentarians. On the other hand, by increasing the number of legislators, there is a need to create opportunities for ordinary citizens to sit in Parliament.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary D.Amarbayasgalan underscored that the public and political parties has criticized a majority voting system, before saying, “They explain that this may be the main cause of the pressing problems that arise today because a person who gets the highest number of votes among candidates in the same constituency is elected as member of Parliament. In other words, one person can be elected to Parliament after receiving 25 percent of the votes. However, the lack of a representative in Parliament to represent the remaining 75 percent of the people is considered a weakness of this electoral system. Firstly, Parliament should have the ability to represent citizens at many levels. On the other hand, with the establishment of a system that ensures the participation of many parties, the problems that have arisen in the society can be solved. MPP will support and work together to take any steps to solve the incomprehensible system and relations of the government, the problems arising from this and causing public frustration. There can be no concept that Parliament, dominated by one party, will pass the Constitution on its own. MPP and the government did not give the order to write a new Constitution.”

He added, “A resolution has been issued with the conclusion to change the electoral system and introduce a mixed system. I am ready to lead the working group and submit issues related to the implementation of this resolution, increasing the number of parliamentarians and changing the system.”

Misheel Lkhasuren