U. Khürelsükh is the odds-on favorite to win Mongolia’s June 9 Presidential election after an irregular ruling by the Supreme Court denied incumbent President K. Battulga his constitutional right to run for re-election. Initial predictions were that the election of Khürelsükh, the former Prime Minister and current chair of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), would end the investigation into whether corruption infected the deal Mongolia struck with foreign investors on the Oyu Tolgoi mining project, Mongolia’s ticket to economic prosperity.
The reasoning was that any investigation would implicate former MPP Prime Minister S. Batbold and other senior MPP members. As this blog has reported (here, here, and here), the evidence of Batbold’s corrupt dealings with the foreign investors in the project, Australian mining giant Rio Tinto and controversial U.S.-Canadian entrepreneur Robert Friedland, seems strong and Batbold’s denials unconvincing. But the expectation was that the MPP, the lineal descendant of the Marxist-Leninist party that ran the country when it was an appendage of the Soviet Union, still observed the principle of “democratic centralism.” Or as Benjamin Franklin put the principle more colorfully when signing one the foundational documents of true democracy, “We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
The assumption that MPP members would hang together is now at risk thanks to what Khürelsükh said last week on Mongolian TV9’s interview program.Continue reading