Mongolian Parliament Finally Sworn In
The New York Sun reports that the Mongolian government is finally ready to get to work. Following the protests of the July 1 election, the minority Democratic Party refused to attend sessions of Parliament. Without their presence, the majority MPRP could not establish a quorum to begin work.
Now, Elbegdorj Tsakhia, leader of the Democratic Party, has relented. He continues to allege voter fraud, claiming that the DP should have won 64 seats, instead of the 28 they were awarded. Although international observers declared the election fair, Elbegdorj says fraud was endemic. Some people voted as many as 18 times, he alleges, and, because the MPRP controls the electoral process, little was done to police the situation. Polls show that most Mongolian voters believe the election was unfair.
Of greater concern, though, were the post-election activities of the government. During the state of emergency, all private television channels were silenced, allowing the MPRP to have greater influence over public opinion. Elbegdorj even suspects that a fire set at the National Modern Art Gallery was a deliberate attempt to frame the DP. Naturally, the MPRP denies any involvement with the fire. “You can’t think of a more stupid thing,” says the general secretary of the party.
In order to convince the DP to return to Parliament, some concessions were made. A subcommittee will investigate the fraud allegations, and the state prosecutor’s office will look into possible abuses by the police during the protests. Some police officers have already been charged with shooting protesters.