Sunday, July 6, 2008

State of Peace in Mongolia?

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So the state of emergency has been lifted. There seems to be some attempts at reconciliation and resolution to political differences.

According to new.mn, the GEC (General Election Committee) has decided to recount the votes at Khentii Aimag (province) constituency. The opposition parties are demanding vote recounts in 5 other provincial / aimag constituencies. After a meeting of party secretaries, they may demand to have re-election / vote recount in 19 of the total 26 constituencies.

Other suspicious pre-election activities have come to light, including the issuing of 120 thousand (!?!) identity cards during the days leading up to the election. The voters must present their ID cards at the polling stations to vote. Out of 1.5 million regsitered voters, 116 thousand were registered at two or more addresses. According to the report from new.mn, the 116 thousand were made up of 37 thousand people registered at 2-6 different addresses.

The Civil Registration Bureau has stated that they have issued 120 thousand replacement ID's for lost and stolen ID's during 28-29 July. However, the Bureau's reported daily capacity is 500 ID's, leading many to claim that the ID's were prepared much earlier.

It does look like the parties are working to resolve the disputes by peaceful means. PM S.Bayar has stated that the government will take every measure to prevent further violence.

In another news, Unuudur reported that there was an attempt, during the state of emergency, by a Chinese national driving a Toyota to infiltrate UB city's drinking water source. He was reported to be inebriated. I am not sure what to make of it. Is it an attempt by the media to use a drunk driver's blunder to create fear of foreign elements taking advantage of our political turmoil? Of course, if the report is true, it is something to worry about.

All in all, I am not completely convinced of peaceful times ahead. After the "Black Tuesday", as the Mongolians are now calling the day of the riots, Mongolia's political dynamics have changed drastically. Rumours of further riots abound, but then the Mongolian political life is full of unfounded rumours.

Journalists, on the other hand, are questioning the legitimacy of the media black-out during the state of emergency. Many have since pointed out the absence of any clause regarding media during a state of emergency. PM S.Bayar has stated that the law needs further developing. The lawmakers at the time, I am sure, did not expect a state of emergency would ever be declared.

Some links to foreign press articles:

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