Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So DP stuck to their promise/threat. 16 DP members had, previously, publicly stated their intention to boycott the new Parliament and submitted a written notice to the President. Their yesterday's move leaves the parliament short of 7 seats required to commence its first session (Parliament requires 57 of 76 elected MP's to be present). Coverage in the international news here, here and here.

During yesterday's inaugural session of the new Parliament, before the DP MP electees walked out, Ts.Elbegdorj criticized the GEC chairman B.Battulga for unfair elections and for presenting the President with the 66 names of elected candidates before the final official results were out. In addition, the DP is demanding the release and full pardon of Batzandan, Magnai and the 200+ detainees. Other demands include full investigation into the shooting deaths of 5 people and releasing the final election results.

I have to agree with them there. Just how long does it take to count votes? They managed to count most of them in one night during the 29-30 June. It's been 2 weeks since they announced the decision to recount votes in Dornod, Khentii aimags and Bayanzurkh duureg. And it's been quiet ever since, as if the GEC is hoping the public might just forget the whole thing and go on with their lives.

MPRP, meanwhile, held an internal meeting headed by S.Bayar with the former MP's and new MP's present. The members were reportedly divided on how to handle the current situation with the Democrats, though the majority seem to agree that entering into a discussion with the DP would be a better next step.

Once again, the public is wondering where all this is going. The foreign investors' community, I am sure, watch on nervously.

As for detainees:
Batzandan, head of the Civil Movement Party, went on a hunger strike in prison, which was forcibly stopped after 72 hours by the prison authorities. O.Magnai, deputy chairman of the CMP, is said to suffer from chronic asthma and is reportedly in a poor medical condition. His mother's plea to release him into her custody for medical treatment was refused. Not much information is available in the press regarding the other 200+ detainees.