In terms of free and fair elections, Mongolia scores high. For decades, Mongolia had been a mere satellite state of the former Soviet Union. But since the peaceful revolution of 1990, the country has undergone a remarkable transformation towards a democratic system. Elections for the 76-seat parliament are held every four years. The 2008 elections were overshadowed by bloody unrest due to allegations of fraud and election manipulation. In the 2012 elections, changes were made to improve the electoral process. These included the introduction of biometric voter identification papers, vote-counting machines, quotas for female candidates and more stringent procedures in the General Election Commission.
Mongolia’s party landscape is dominated by three major parties, the Democratic Party
(DP), currently holding the majority, the Mongolian People’s Party, which emerged from the former Socialist Party that ruled the country until 1996, and the Justice Coalition, consisting of two further splinter groups of the former socialist revolutionary party. Currently a coalition of DP, Justice Coalition and the small Civil Will-Green Party is in power.
The last presidential elections took place in June 2013. With a majority of 50.23% of the votes, Democratic Party candidate and former prime minister Tsakhia Elbegdorj emerged as new president. Elbegdorj was a key figure in the peaceful 1990 revolution and has done a lot for the country’s economic and democratic development. His victory ensures far-reaching powers for the Democratic Party in national legislation until the next national elections in 2016.
Civil society organisations and trade unions are present and active and can usually operate without restrictions, though there have been allegations of wire-tapping of non-governmental organisations. The right for public assembly is guaranteed and upheld in practice.