Er­denebat, cabi­net voted out amid cor­rup­tion claims

Bangkok Post - - ASIA - Er­denebat: De­nies al­le­ga­tions

ULAN BATOR: Mon­go­lian par­lia­men­tar­i­ans voted on Thurs­day to throw out the coun­try’s prime min­is­ter and cabi­net over al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and abuse of power a lit­tle over a year af­ter a land­slide elec­tion vic­tory by the rul­ing party.

Some 42 out of 73 mem­bers of Mongolia’s leg­is­la­ture, the Great Khu­ral, voted to oust Jar­gal­tulgiin Er­denebat along with his 15 cabi­net min­is­ters.

A ma­jor­ity of the rul­ing Mongolia Peo­ple’s Party (MPP) voted for the re­moval mea­sure.

The party now has 45 days to ap­point a new prime min­is­ter.

Leg­is­la­tors ac­cused Mr Er­denebat of grant­ing 800 bil­lion tu­grik (US$328 mil­lion) in con­ces­sions to eight com­pa­nies re­lated to his cabi­net min­is­ters, pro­vid­ing il­le­gal cash al­lowances to voters and pre­sent­ing a poor im­age to the pub­lic.

He has fiercely de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and in a state­ment be­fore the vote he lashed out against “Mongolia’s prac­tice of oust­ing its cabi­net”, which he said had been toxic to the “coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment and poi­sons our econ­omy”.

“Al­though some of us point to for­eign in­vest­ments as eco­nomic killers, in re­al­ity we politi­cians are the in­ter­nal killers of our econ­omy and suf­fo­cate our own growth,” he said.

Mongolia’s econ­omy has per­formed well un­der Mr Er­denebat’s gov­ern­ment, with a dra­matic im­prove­ment in the first half of 2017 on the back of grow­ing de­mand for coal from China.

Po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, how­ever, has been a con­stant prob­lem for the young Cen­tral Asian democ­racy, which passed its first con­sti­tu­tion in 1992 af­ter decades of com­mu­nist rule.

The coun­try has been through 15 dif­fer­ent cab­i­nets in the years since, each last­ing an av­er­age of 1.5 years.

Late last month, the MPP is­sued a let­ter call­ing for Mr Er­denebat and other se­nior lead­ers to re­sign, al­leg­ing they had vi­o­lated the law in pur­suit of their own busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests.

The let­ter came just weeks af­ter a close loss by the party’s can­di­date in a scan­dalplagued pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The call for Mr Er­den­bat’s res­ig­na­tion was made af­ter the party lead­er­ship de­clined to pun­ish its big­wigs for their al­leged role in a US$25-mil­lion con­spir­acy to sell gov­ern­ment po­si­tions that many be­lieve cost the MPP the pres­i­dency.

The MPP won the 2016 elec­tions, tak­ing 65 out of 76 seats in par­lia­ment, and formed the cabi­net led by Er­denebat, who al­legedly spied on party mem­bers.

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