The opposition Democratic Party edged out Mongolia’s ruling party in a tightly contested legislative election that centered on how best to use the wealth generated by the still poor but fast-developing country’s mining boom. It was not yet clear if the Democrats would win an outright majority in the 76-seat parliament. The party won 20 of the 48 seats awarded by outright majority in Thursday’s vote, compared with 15 for the ruling Mongolian People’s Party and fewer seats for two other parties, results released Friday by the General Election Commission showed. Under a new system, the remaining 28 seats are awarded based on the parties’ proportion of the overall vote, giving the Democrats a commanding but not a decisive edge in the new parliament. A coalition government between the major parties or with smaller parties would likely perpetuate slow policy-making and partisan bickering that has characterized Mongolia’s fledgling democracy.
Former Mongolian President Enkhbayar Nambar said he has been deemed ineligible to stand in this month’s parliamentary elections, in the latest setback to his attempted political comeback at a time when fresh questions are being asked about the nation’s democratic foundations. In an interview Thursday, Mr. Enkhbayar said the General Election Commission of Mongolia informed him it wouldn’t accept his application to participate in the June 28 election due to a pending corruption case against him and after consultation with state prosecutors. Mr. Enkhbayar, who served as president from 2005 until 2009, denies the corruption allegations and said he intends to challenge the commission’s decision. Messages left with the commission weren’t returned.