The big news in Mongolia today is the vote by parliament on Thursday to remove the Prime Minister and Cabinet from office in connection with alleged “incompetence” and “corruption”. The vote is triggered by the government’s engagement of companies with connections to three members of the Cabinet.
A majority of MPs voted to pass a motion demanding that Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat and the Cabinet resign. A new Cabinet and Prime Minister are expected to be appointed within 45 days.
The suspect contracts involve a large construction company owned by the Minister of Justice, a mining company owned by the family of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, and a road construction company with links to a Cabinet secretary. Together the contracts amounted to $328 million.
While the vote adds to political uncertainty in Mongolia, it may also be considered an important step in the growth of principled government and establishing “rule of law”. This sends a message to current and future government officials that corruption, or even the appearance of corruption carries clear political risks.
The vote does not affect the rule of current President, former populist business tycoon and ex-judo champion Khaltmaa Battulga. Mr. Battulga has emphasized the importance of business and foreign investment for Mongolia’s continued economic growth.
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