Thursday, September 18, 2008

Political Games

I am intrigued by the latest developments in the Parliament. Why the coalition government when the MPRP have clear majority? I can think of several possible reasons:
  • MPRP wants to get on the good side of the Democratic Party, or rather of some select candidates from the fractious DP. 40% of the ministries or 6 seats go to the DP. While the DP hold the second largest majority in Parliament, it is now at its most fractious. MPRP is looking to solidify its position for the 2012 elections. Who knows a few defections from the DP could decide everything 4 years later.
  • It was the only way to move forward and have the DP MP's take oath in the new Parliament. On the condition that they get rid of Elbegdorj and appoint Altankhuyag as their head. (My guess, who knows) In return, the DP gets some of the ministries.
What remains to be seen are: Who will the DP appoint as heads of the ministries allocated to them? Reportedly, the PM had requested that 3 of the 6 DP ministers' seats be non-MP's.
Who will take over the new and much-coveted seat in the new Ministry of Minerals? This new Ministry has the potential to pave the way for future development, or line the pockets of those tied to it with thick layers of gold.

The new government's action plan is outlined in this article at UBPost, optimistically titled "Mongolia Looks Set to Prosper Under New Government". There is mention of the MNT1.5million the MPRP promised to every citizen during the election campaign, however little concrete plan has been presented except for the fact that this amount will come from mining revenues. UBPost says the MNT1.5million will be awarded to every "eligible citizen" of the country. They made no mention of the eligibility criteria.
The MPRP heads have shot down the DP's request to have their MNT1million "Erdeniin Khuvi" (or the "Wealth Sharing") proposal included in the action plan, citing it as unfeasible. Look for an earlier post on more info on what this is. Arguably, the DP's proposal was better planned.

The Civil Movement Party (headed by Batzandan and Magnai, who are awaiting trial for allegedly instigating the riots) have made an official request to merge with the Democratic Party, which has been accepted.

Other post-riot info: The police have finished taking statements from the detainees, and we await further developments. 3 citizens, who were on hunger strike demanding lawful treatment of the policemen under investigation for the 5 shooting deaths during the riots, have been given medical treatments against their wishes. They have expressed their determination to continue the strike and have even promised to self-immolate (i.e. set themselves on fire) in protest, should they deem the investigation process unfair.