Does the president need more power?

Jul 2 • Featured, News, Opinion, Politics • 1689 Views • No Comments on Does the president need more power?

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The incumbent president is re-elected for the second term. Elbegdorj Tsakhia is the second president from Democratic Party to win the presidential election. DP is also a majority in the parliament which means that DP will articulate the government policy in the coming 3-4 years. However, the political trend is aligned with DP. They are as experienced as the 70 year old MPP, but still daring as before. The reformist government that calls it self a government for change proved itself for the past few months that they mean business.

DP held government once from 1996-2000 when the Asian economic crisis hit the country in 1998, and then in the coalition government when the world financial crisis hit the country in 2008. When DP left the coalition just 6 months before the election they recognized the people’s call for a change. MPP is now a rusty old machine that is clogged with oligarchs and corrupted bureaucrats. Especially the young people of the country sees DP as more modern and speak to their issues.

MPP had many leaders as it held government many years. However, we witnessed that MPP is also calling for a change within the party. Young members like N.Nomtoibayar of Mongol Alt and O.Sodbileg of Petrovis spoke out last week that its party needs to take a different turn. In the presidential campaign last month, we didn’t see the prominent members of the party such as former PM S.Batold or the party chairman D.Enkhtuvshin along with the candidate B.Bat-Erdene. However, the chairman had the audacity to make a statement regarding the imbalances and the advantage that the incumbent had in the election.

Despite the economic downturn, reduction of coal export, and the effects from the new Investment Law the new DP and MPRP coalition government could sell Mongolia in the international bond market raising USD1.5 billion stabilizing the economy. The new government is receiving many criticisms from the opposition – now the MPP. Nevertheless, DP is making courageous changes. It proposed to make amendments in the 200+ laws, investing in infrastructure, introduced the 8+1% mortgages program, and fighting corruption to name a few.

The DP now has the full force to articulate and exercise its rights in the government. It also has the power call for a presidential form of government or call for a referendum. Mongolia contemplated the presidential government initially two decades ago. Mongolians believe that the decision made after a discussion involved as many people as possible is correct. Arguably, we saw that it has many inefficiency and creates a situation that nobody is responsible for the bad decisions and everyone is responsible for the good decisions. We also witnessed many years of inconsistent government and social policies. Academics of the country argues that presidential government will create social disturbance and even may led to civil war. Others respond to this with the belief of consistent and strong policies that couldn’t be altered every election.

Political freedom is a gift and the only advantage we have from our neighbors and other central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan. We have gay and women rights NGOs to neo-nazi clans and extreme nationalist political parties. It seems we value freedom of speech and political freedom over a consistent policy and hard-work for economic development. For some it is a virtue and others it is a disorder. As Aristotle stated – Law is order, and a good law is good order. We do have good laws, though not all of them. The problem is obeying the them. Anyone who have connections can circumvent the simplest rules such as traffic ticket to big amount of tax requirements.

I remember when the former president N.Enkhabayar rose on power, he had a eagerness for presidential government. Many supported him as the new leader or the Mongolian Putin for his emergence in the politics. However, he turned out to be a ‘godfather of corruption’, and spending his days in prison. His party, MPRP, once called for social disorder and military take-over of the government.

Elbegdorj Tsakhia may seem like a person who has a good morality, liberal and fight against corruption but if DP ever thought of presidential government, it is the time. The stake is be too high for the people, despite that, the political nuance seems right if the change is to ever come.

First in order to support this idea is international investors and the two neighbors as it is easier to deal with one person than the whole system depending on the presidential governance system. It will also provide political stability and reduce the power distribution. Is power scattered too much?

We have equally same examples of both triumph and chaos from the countries that has dictatorship or presidential system. Policy of mineral resources-dependent country should be customized due to geopolitics, culture and current economic situation. Investors need stability. Mongolians need economic development and distribution of wealth. Politicians want both.

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