Asia in Review Archive


Date of AiR edition

News summary

28 July 2020

Mongolia: Ex-prime minister sentenced to five years in prison

(dql) Mongolia’s former Prime Minister Sanjaagiin Bayar (2007-2009) was sentenced to five years in jail for power abuse in the context of signing a fuel and lubricants supply agreement favoring a friend’s a company and allowing it to illegally gain a profit of 147 million USD. [Aki Press]

30 June 2020

Mongolia: Mongolian People’s Party retains majority in parliament

(ef) In last week’s parliamentary election, held under special Covid-19 related health and safety measures, the ruling Mongolian People’s Party, although loosing three seats compared with the election in 2016, retained its majority securing 62 out of 76 seats. Voters turnout was high at more than 73 percent of the electorate. [AKI Press]

For more details on the composition of the new parliament see Julian Dierkes at [East Asia Forum] who sees the outcome of the election as a “sign that Mongolian democracy is starting to heal from the corruption-induced frustrations of the 2010s.”



23 June 2020

Mongolia: Ruling party set to win parliamentary election

(dql) In Mongolia’s eighth parliamentary election since the country adopted a constitutional system in 1992 after sixty years of rule of the Soviet Union, a total of 606 candidates, representing 13 political parties and 4 coalitions as well as 121 independents, will compete this Wednesday for 76 seats in parliament. 

The ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) led by Prime Minister Khurelsukh, which won 65 seats in the past election 2016, is believed to win the election again due to its success in combating the coronavirus pandemic. [East Asia Forum] [Nikkei Asian Review]


26 May 2020

Mongolia: A new type of candidates in upcoming parliamentary election

(dql) In less than four weeks, Mongolia will hold parliamentary election in which 670 candidates will race for 76 seats. Bulgan Batdorj and Julian Dierkes at [The Diplomat] provide insights into the diversity of the candidates and argue that while new candidates might not win in the election they might contribute to “nudg[ing] political discourse in the direction of concrete policy debates that have been lacking in previous elections” because they establish a new kind of relationship with the parties and the people. 



28 April 2020

Mongolia: Parliament ratifies social protection deal with the Czech Republic

(ef) In a move to eradicate flaws in pension calculation for Mongolian citizen residing in the Czech Republic, the Mongolian parliament has ratified an intergovernmental agreement between Mongolia and the central European country. Under the agreement Mongolian expats to receive their pension in the Czech Republic or have their years of service abroad included in the calculation of their benefits in Mongolia. [AKI Press]



28 April 2020

Mongolia: Asian Development Bank approves loan for renewable energy

(ef) As Mongolia is set to install its first large-scale advanced battery energy storage system, the country received a 100 million USD loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to complete that project. Being among the most heavily coal-dependent developing member countries of the Asian Development Bank, Mongolia seeks to increase the share of renewable energy in total installed capacity from about 12% in 2018 to 30% by 2030. [AKI Press]


4 February 2020

Mongolia: Amendment to Rome Statue of International Criminal Court ratified

(dql) Mongolia’s parliament last week passed a bill ratifying the 2010 Amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adding the definition of the crime of aggression and the conditions for the exercise of jurisdiction over this crime. [Aki Press]

Mongolia signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 2000 and ratified it in 2002.  

7 January 2020

Mongolia: Parliament approves law to write off loans of pensioners

(dql) Mongolia’s parliament approved a law to write off loans of pensioners. The move follows President Khaltmaa Battulga’s a decision at the end of the last year to pay off the loans of pensioners to help them get out of debt. Under the law, loans of up to almost 2,200 USD of each pensioner will be written off. [AKI Press]

26 November 2019

Mongolia: Head of Constitutional Court dismissed over sexual harassment case 

(dql) Mongolia’s Constitutional Court last week dismissed its chairman Odbayar Dorj from his office for sexually harassing a Korean flight attendant on his flight to South Korea weeks ago. Dorj, however, remains one of the nine members of the court. [Channel News Asia]

The case sheds light on the fact that there is no legislation to punish sexual harassment and to protect the victims in Mongolia.

19 November 2019

Mongolia: Constitution amended to strengthen Prime Minister against President

(dql) Mongolia has amended its constitution for the second time since it was ratified in 1992, strengthening the powers of the prime minister in a bid to end years of costly political instability and economic stagnation. In Mongolia’s hybrid political system, power has been shared by an elected president and the government, which is appointed by parliament and headed by a prime minister. The president, who usually comes from the political party in opposition, is able to veto legislation and propose his own. Experts say the changes, approved by parliament on Thursday, will tip the balance of power in favour of the prime minister, giving the office full authority to appoint and dismiss the cabinet and weakening the role of the presidency. Future presidents, though still elected directly by the people, will be limited to one six-year term, compared to two four-year terms previously, starting from 2025. [Reuters]

12 November 2019

Mongolia: Hundreds of Chinese citizens detained in crackdown on cybercrime

(dql) Mongolian local authorities announced that 800 Chinese citizens have been arrested on various charges including illegal gambling, fraud, computer hacking, identity theft and money laundering. [Reuters]

22 October 2019

Mongolia put of FATF “graylist”

(dql) The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last week put Mongolia on its “graylist” of monitored jurisdictions, acknowledging the country’s development of an action plan with the FATF to address the most serious deficiencies


1 October 2019

Mongolia’s parliament set to debate country’s first whistleblower protection law

(dql) Transparency International (TI) has welcome Mongolia starting to debate in the parliament a draft law on whistleblower protection, submitted in 2016, as part of a reform of the country’s anti-corruption law. At the same time TI has warned against attempts of the parliament to shrink space for political rights in Mongolia. [Transparency International]


Date of AiR edition

News summary

Web links

9 July 2019

Mongolia: Concerns over dismissal of judges

(dql) Transparency International expressed extreme concerns over the dismissal of 17 judges two weeks ago by the Judiciary Council and National Security Council. The judges, accused of corruption, were dismissed on the basis of amendments to the laws governing the judiciary and anti-corruption agency adopted in an emergency session of the parliament in March, at a time when two-thirds of Mongolia’s 76 lawmakers were investigated over allegations of embezzlement of public funds. [Transparency International] [AiR 1/4/2019]


4 June 2019

Mongolia: Protesters demand government to step down

(dql) Thousands of government-critical protesters took to the streets of Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, last week and demanded the resignation of the leadership over corruption allegations and failure to revive the country’s struggling economy.

Mongolia was plunged into an economic crisis in 2016 over disputes with foreign investors like mining giant Rio Tinto, government overspending and slipping commodity prices from which the country has not recovered yet. Government pledges of large spending on infrastructure, social services and housing based on foreign investment have remained unmaterialised. [Reuters]


4 December 2018

Mongolia: Government survives no-confidence vote

(dql) Last week a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh and his cabinet government was launched in parliament but narrowly failed to oust the government after 40 out of the attending 73 lawmakers in the 76-seat parliament voted against the motion and 33 for the motion. [Xinhua 1]

The motion was submitted by 27 lawmakers of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), which holds 65 seats, over a scandal pertaining to financial irregularities which involves members of parliament and government suspected of receiving a number of loans with low interest rates from a fund that serves small and medium-sized enterprises. [The Guardian] [AiR 3/11/2018]

In a latest development, three lawmakers of the Mongolia’s opposition Democratic Party (9 seats) were expelled or banned for four years to compete in elections for cross-voting in the motion. [Xinhua 2]

20 November 2018

Mongolia: Government under pressure over loan scandal

(dql) Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh is facing pressure over allegations that cabinet members received low-interest loans for business controlled by them or their family members. More than a dozen parliament members and police officials are believed to be also implicated in this scandal. According to the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry over 3,500 member companies vowed to withhold tax payments until the scandal is resolved. [Nikkei Asian Review]

In a latest development of the scandal, legislator Damdin Khayankhyarvaa from the ruling People’s Party submitted a proposal to dismiss the government over the scandal. The proposal was signed by 27 of the 76 members of parliament in which the People’s Party holds 65 seats. [Xinhua]

13 November 2018

Mongolia: High-profile corruption case under investigation

(dql) Mongolia’s anti-corruption authority is investigating a high-profile corruption case involving government ministers, members of parliament, the general prosecutor, the general auditor, and the former head of the intelligence authority who – according to leaked reports – channeled more than 1 million USD of a 25 million USD government fund to their families and friends. The fund was set up 18 years ago to offer government loans at 3 per cent interest to owners of small and medium-sized enterprises, compared to banks and finance companies charging between 12 and 30 per cent. Pressured by these reports, Food, Agriculture and Light Industry Minister Batjargal Batzorig, who oversaw the SME fund, resigned. [South China Morning Post]

15 April 2018

Mongolia: Former PM’s arrested over corruption case

(dql) In the context of an investigation into a copper mine joint venture in 2009 and 2015, Mongolia’s anti-corruption agency arrested two former Prime Ministers on suspicion of misuse of power:  Bayar Sanj, Prime Minister at the time of the signing of the original investment deal in 2009, and Saikhanbileg Chimed, Prime Minister at the time the agreement on the expansion of the mine was sealed in 2015. [Reuters]

Prior to the high-level arrests, a former finance minister had alraedy been detained. [AiR 2/4/2018]

8 April 2018

Mongolia: Arrests in high-profile graft probe

(dql) Mongolia’s Independent Authority Against Corruption announced this week the arrest of former Finance Minister Bayartsogt Sangajav in the frame of an investigation into alleged abuse of power in the context of investment talks for the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, Mongolia’s giant mining joint venture between Turquoise Hill Resources, a majority owned subsidiary of Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto, and the Mongolian Government with the former holding 66% ownership and the latter 34%.

The arrest of Bayartsogt comes amid an ongoing criminal investigation of the Swiss Office of the Attorney General into a seized bank account which according to court documents had been used to transfer 10 million USD to Bayartsogt in September 2008 who on behalf of Mongolia signed an agreement with Canadian Ivanhoe Mines in 2009 to develop the giant mine. [Reuters]

In a related investigation into a 2015 financing deal for the mine’s underground expansion between Turquoise Hill, Rio Tinto and the government of Mongolia former Mongolian Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed, in office for two years until 2016, has been asked to return from the US to justify himself to the prosecutors while the former chief executive of the state-owned entity holding Mongolia’s stake in Oyu Tolgoi, who signed the deal, and the former director general of the General Department of Taxation were arrested. [Financial Times]

17 November 2017

Bleak outlook for the Mongolia’s future

In office since October, Prime Minister U Khurelsukh is lacking a consistent agenda and strategy to fight corruption and to enhance the civil service and judiciary, the root causes for Mongolia’s current political crisis reflected by three governments within two years. Caught up with factionalism within his ruling Mongolian People’s Party, he will fail to lead the country out of this crisis, Julian Dierkes and Mendee Jargalsaikhan predict in this article [East Asia Forum].

6 October 2017

New Mongolian Prime Minister

Following the impeachment of Jargaltulgiin Erdenebat and his cabinet on grounds of corruption weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh has been elected as new Prime Minister by the ruling Mongolia People’s Party [The Straits Times].

18 August 2017

For Mongolia’s new president is Mongolia first and China last

Mongolia’s new President Khaltmaa Battulga won the presidential election with a nationalistic, anti-China campaign. Since more than a month in office, a core issue and challenge of his administration will be to balance the relation-ships of Mongolia with Russia and China [East Asia Forum].