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The biggest story in Mongolia over recent months has been protests in Ulaanbaatar over perceptions of widespread elite corruption. Reuters reports tens of thousands of Mongolians took to the streets in late December 2018 protesting after new revelations.
Both of the two major political parties in Mongolia were targets of the protests after allegations surfaced of a “pay to play” scheme, essentially selling high level government positions.
The protests are instigated by a multi-party coalition of Parliament members calling themselves “Mongolian People’s Union” who had promised to boycott Parliamentary sessions until the Parliamentary speaker, said to be at the center of the scandal, resigns.
The protesters, largely common people, have raised grievances wondering why the majority of the population remains I poverty while Mongolia is a country with rich natural resources in the form of mineral reserves. Mining has been Mongolia’s largest industry for decades.
While the protests have been an important symbol of raising social awareness in Mongolia, it is not clear that any major changes will result. Mongolia remains relatively stable politically. The most likely effect of the protests will be to focus the government on finding practical ways to speed development of the economy including through careful exploitation of Mongolia’s mineral wealth.
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