No candidate has won an outright victory in Mongolia’s presidential election meaning the first ever run-off between two leading candidates will be held next month, the General Election Committee said on Tuesday. A populist former martial arts star Khaltmaa Battulga of the opposition Democratic Party won the most votes in the Monday election, but failed to secure the majority required, the committee said. He will face ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) candidate Miyeegombo Enkhbold, who came second, in a run-off on July 9, the committee’s chairman, Choinzon Tsodnomtseren, told a news briefing.
The election has been seen as a referendum on the government’s economic recovery plans and China’s role in the remote, resource-rich country known as the birthplace of Mongol emperor Genghis Khan.
Battulga, who is regarded as a resource nationalist who is suspicious of Mongolia’s giant neighbor to the south, had been confident about his chances.
“I never lose, I must win. I always win in the history of my life,” Battulga told Reuters in an interview late on Monday, before the preliminary results were announced.