Campaigning for national elections on Wednesday has divided Mongolia as a record number of candidates vie for seats in parliament and local councils. While suffering through the worst economic crisis since 2008, 12 different parties and three separate coalitions are jousting for power with the economy and foreign debt repayment topping the list of voter concerns. The General Election Commission of Mongolia said 498 candidates are running for 76 seats in parliament, known as the State Great Khural. An additional 2,288 candidates are attempting to secure local council jobs. Any party or coalition that wins a majority of parliamentary seats forms the government and appoints the prime minister.
In the capital and major cities, election banners and life-sized portraits of various candidates line the main streets, buildings, and houses.
With so many potential leaders to choose from, some here are overwhelmed. “This year’s election is very confusing. There are way too many candidates and it is hard to decide to whom to vote for,” Bolormaa, an accountant who goes by one name like many Mongolians, told Al Jazeera.