Accessibility links

Candidate of Former Communist Ruling Party Wins Mongolia Election

  • Luis Ramirez

Nambariin Enkhbayar speaks to journalists in Ulan Bator
Nambaryn Enkhbayar of Mongolia's former communist ruling party, has won the country's presidential elections.

Mongolia's General Election Committee proclaimed Mr. Enkhbayar, of the former communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, the winner of Sunday's poll. Officials say he garnered more than 50 percent of the vote in an election characterized by promises by all sides to fight corruption and poverty in the sparsely populated, land-locked nation.

Three other candidates campaigned on similar themes.

But observers say the ruling party's status may have been helped by extraordinary growth figures. Officials say gross domestic product last year rose by 10.9 percent.

Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party spokesman Otgonbayar, speaking in Beijing recently, said spreading the prosperity was an important theme in Mr. Enkbhbayar's campaign.

"When the economy is experiencing such growth, we need to provide political stability to make this growth sustainable," he said.

Mr. Enkbhayar replaces President Bagabandi, also of the formerly Marxist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, which had a monopoly on power in Mongolia before the democratic reforms of the early 1990s.

The president-elect promised to work to continue liberalizing Mongolia's economy, and increase foreign investment. Russia traditionally dominated trade with Mongolia, but the country has been building ties with Japan, the European Union and the United States.

Mr. Otgonbayar said neighboring China will continue to play an important role.

"[The] number one economic partner and number one investor in Mongolia is China," he said. "We do have very good normal relations with China, and we do intend to keep on having those relations."

Many of Mongolia's 2.7 million people are nomads, some of whom arrived at remote polling stations on horseback Sunday. Officials estimated voter turnout was 70 percent.