Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mongolia - Election 2008 updates: Election Debates

According to news.mn, the chairmen of the two leading parties, S.Bayar of the MPRP, and Ts.Elbegdorj of the Democratic Party will go head-to-head in a live televised debate on Thursday night at 11pm. Thursday night at 11pm, the night before the election day. Strange timing. Perhaps they figured everyone will be up late at 11pm seeing as the Election Day is a public holiday (I don't know if it's appropriate to call it a holiday.) in Mongolia. [Correction: The election day is on Sunday, thanks to the commentor who pointed it out]

Who is going to stay up and watch this debate? Well, I would if I were there. That's just the kind of sucker I am. Would the perceived outcome of the debate play a deciding factor in who gets elected? Probably not. This is a Parliamentary election, not a Prime Ministerial election. What could an 11pm televized debate the night before the election day achieve remains to be seen. My gut tells me that many people will vote for the MPRP, simply because they want S.Bayar to continue what he started. They will vote for the MPRP in spite of the entire party. I am rather torn on this issue. If it were a presidential election, S.Bayar would probably win. However, this election, we may have a new PM come July.

MPRP is a large entity with too many internal fractions, with several powerful individuals leading their own little cliques. This does not inspire a lot of public confidence in the MPRP and the effectiveness of S.Bayar's future leadership. Many say that he does not have the majority support of his own party, having chosen a more solitary position amidst the chaotic party politics. He raised a few MPRP eyebrows with his proposal to have the President elected by the Parliament. It is safe to assume that he is no longer on the good side of President Enkhbayar, another individual with powerful ties within the MPRP political structure. MPRP's reputation as a party has been plummetting during the last few years. In fact, their reputation has been doing so much endless plummetting, I wonder if we exist in a bottomless political pit. We keep on straining our necks to hear that splash when it hits the bottom, but no. It somehow crawls back out like some Lovecraftian black oozy thing or that creepy little girl from Japanese horror movies. Crappy analogies aside, the MPRP does have strong support from the rural regions, which they have played on very well.

There is an interesting interview with S.Bayar, in which he enumerates on the achievements of his administration, as well as a few objectives he was not able to reach due to various circumstances. Excerpts will soon follow.