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Mongolia's Rival Parties Reach Power-Sharing Agreement - 2004-08-13

Mongolia's leading political parties have agreed to form a new government after nearly two months of political uncertainty. The head of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, Nambaryn Enkhbayar, was elected speaker of parliament Friday, after the country's rival political parties reached a power-sharing agreement.

The deal ends nearly two months of political wrangling between the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, or MPRP, and the Motherland Democratic Coalition. The two split the parliamentary vote of June 27 right down the middle.

Yondon Otgonbayar, a spokesman for the MPRP, says a new prime minister is expected to be named in a few days. "We are going to form a joint government," he said. "So, the prime minister post goes to the coalition, and the members of the Cabinet are going to be divided between two major political forces."

Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj is said to be the top candidate for prime minister. He previously held the post for several months in 1998.

In June's voting, the MPRP won 36 seats in the 76-seat parliament, while the coalition took 34.

The coalition claimed victory with the support of three independents. But each side accused the other of voting irregularities, sparking protests and calls for recounts in disputed constituencies.

The exact allocation of seats in Parliament has still not been officially announced.

The MPRP ruled Mongolia for 75 years, throughout the Soviet era and beyond, until it was finally ousted in 1996. It regained power in 2000, and was expected to win again easily this year.