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Friday, August 20, 2004

Mongolians on the Spot 

Mongolian democracy continues to consolidate:
The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, which led the last government, agreed to form the ``Grand Coalition Government'' with the former opposition after both failed to win enough seats in June 27 elections to form a government on their own.

The 66 lawmakers who attended the session Friday of the 76-seat Great Hural voted unanimously to approve Elbegdorj as prime minister.

The agreement followed weeks of legal wrangling over elections that were a stunning setback to the People's Revolutionary Party, which had held all but four seats in the last parliament. Both sides accused each other of cheating and the first two attempts to open the new parliament failed after Revolutionary Party lawmakers refused to attend.

[Guardian UK]
Mongolia's transition to true democracy has been impressively rapid and comprehensive, as this Freedom House report makes clear. It appears that another potential crisis has been averted, and that democratic norms are firmly rooted in the nation.

There is one slightly worrisome detail in the article: apparently some Mongolian parliamentarians, worried about how to operate a coalition government, sought answers on a fact-finding trip to Israel. Call me crazy, but I think there might be better exemplars out there...

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