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Mongolian voters will cast their ballots in a presidential election on Monday.
Three candidates are in the race to choose a successor to incumbent President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj who is retiring after serving two 4-year terms.
Miegombo Enkhbold is the speaker of the parliament representing the governing Mongolian People's Party. Khaltmaa Batulgaa of the largest opposition Democratic Party is a former Cabinet minister. Sainkhuu Ganbaatar of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party is a former lawmaker in the parliament.
The focus of the election is fiscal reconstruction and growth strategies.
Mongolia recorded double-digit economic growth for 3 years in a row from 2011 by exporting its abundant natural resources such as coal and copper to China.
But Mongolia's economy has declined, mainly due to China's economic slowdown and drops in prices of natural resources. It grew only one percent last year.
Enkhbold is calling for industrial development in the country and use of foreign investments. Batulgaa insists that the government should further involve itself in developing resources and encourage their exports. Ganbaatar pledges to develop agriculture and livestock-farming and step up relief measures for the unemployed.
Polling stations across Mongolia will be open from 7 AM to 10 PM, local time. The general trend of polling should be known as early as Tuesday morning.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (CNN)Four Arab states that have boycotted Qatar have handed the country a list of 13 demands, including some likely to infuriate Doha and exacerbate the region's worst crisis in decades.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt sent Qatar the list -- which includes a demand to shut down the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera news network -- and gave the country 10 days to comply with the demands. CNN's Erin Burnett obtained the list, which Qatari officials said is authentic.
ULAANBAATAR -- Mongolians will vote for a new president on Monday, choosing from among three fresh faces to replace Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, whose second four-year term ends next month.
The race has been led by Miyegombo Enkhbold of the ruling Mongolian People's Party, who is currently chairman of the State Great Khural, the parliament. While Enkbold struggles to extend his lead, rival Khaltmaa Battulga of the Democratic Party, is closing in by tapping into young voters' patriotism.
"I will bring back Mongolia's rich resources to the 3 million people of Mongolia," Battulga, also president of the Mongolian Judo Association, said at a rally at a square here in the capital on Thursday. The candidate spoke with passion, and the crowd applauded.
Mongolia's president also serves as the supreme commander of the country's armed forces and possesses veto power over decisions made by parliament.
Enkhbold, the candidate from the ruling MPP, which won a sweeping victory in last year's general election, has served as prime minister. He calls for "unity," for fiscal reforms that he says are in step with global trends and for economic reforms that will be helped by a return of foreign investment.
Although his victory was initially seen as almost certain, he is struggling to gain further ground amid allegations of corruption when he was the mayor of the capital as well as questions regarding his campaign finances and roster of ministers.
Recent polls show Enkhbold and Battulga are neck and neck with support rates of 30% each. Behind them is Sainkhuugiin Ganbaatar, a former head of an association of labor unions, who is seen winning about 10% to 20% of the vote. His support base is mainly seniors. But Ganbaatar has also fallen under a cloud. A video was released of him receiving a donation from a foreign organization.
Although support is growing for Battulga, the successful businessman is also not free from allegations. He has been accused of hiding over $898 million overseas and having deep ties to Russia.
If none of the three candidates wins a majority on Monday, there will be a runoff between the top two. It would be the first runoff since the country held its first presidential election in 1993.
By Terrence Edwards | TSOGTTSETSII, MONGOLIA
A few miles from Mongolia's giant Tavan Tolgoi mine, about 2,000 trucks a day set off across the Gobi desert, delivering coal to China on a road so narrow and ridden with pot holes it has become an accident black spot.
Nearby stand the foundations of a railway meant to connect Tavan Tolgoi to China to the south. The unfinished line would enable cash-strapped, landlocked Mongolia to sell more coal at higher prices to its biggest customer, which could also finance the project.
But despite the obvious economic benefits, the project has become a casualty of the ambivalence Mongolians feel about China's growing influence.
Those feelings loom large over a Mongolian presidential election on Monday.
"It's been left here for two years without any work," said the governor of Tsogttsetsii district, Orgodol Badarch, pointing to a gravel surface where the rails should have been laid, stretching into the distance for more than 200 km (124 miles).
"I'm not sure, but it may have to be rebuilt completely."
Voters will choose between an investment-friendly candidate and a populist "resource nationalist" rival in an election that is a referendum on both economic policy and China's role.
China's share of Mongolia's foreign trade was 68.5 percent from January to May this year, up from 1.5 percent in 1989. China took 90.5 percent of Mongolia's exports from January to May.
China wants Mongolia's coal and copper, and has the cash to build the infrastructure to get it - if Mongolia allows it.
Julian Dierkes, specialist in Mongolian politics at the University of British Columbia, said there was a lot of nationalist language in the party manifestos.
"Most of this must be thinking of Mongolia as united, but also, in part, united against China, even if that is not explicit," he said.
Miyeegombo Enkhbold, standing for the ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP), is "open to foreign investment from all countries, that of course includes investment from China", a party official told Reuters.
"The reality for today is we have the supply, China has the demand," he said, while adding that Mongolia had to diversify and "reduce inappropriate dependence" on one country.
Enkhbold's main challenger, from the Democratic Party, is a former martial arts star, Khaltmaa Battulga, who has voiced suspicion about China's aims in a country that was under Chinese domination for centuries, until it gained independence in 1921.
Battulga said in an emailed statement on Thursday that China "is and must be a great partner of ours", but added that "rail and transportation for any country is both a national security and an economic issue".
"The resources will finish in 40 to 50 years and there will definitely be conflict between the Mongolians and the Chinese," Battulga said in a 2014 television interview.
Polling is not permitted during election campaigning, but in a March survey, 24.3 percent said the MPP could best solve problems compared with 10.6 percent for the Democratic Party.
POLITICS OF RAIL
Mongolia's economy has more than doubled in size since 2010, but some regions have seen little benefit and lack running water and reliable electricity.
While growing trade has brought jobs to Tsogttsetsii, poor transport means Mongolian coal is sold at a discount. Deliveries to China earned $66 a ton in April, half the price of shipments from Australia.
The railway track from Tsogttsetsii was meant to have been laid in 2014, but financing dried up. A tentative 2015 pact with China's Shenhua Group and Japan's Sumitomo Corp (8053.T) to develop the mine and the railway was blocked by parliament.
Battulga, transport minister from 2008 to 2012, had favored the wider Russian tracks, arguing that the international standard would leave Mongolia dependent on China. He recently said he'd go along with whatever parliament decided.
A century ago, Chinese warlords used railways to help colonize Inner Mongolia, and some Mongolian nationalists argue a cross-border link could help facilitate a Chinese invasion.
Though driven by Chinese demand, and by a billion-dollar deal to develop the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold deposit now run by Rio Tinto (RIO.AX)(RIO.L), Mongolia's 2011-2013 mining boom encouraged politicians to think about ways to minimize dependence on China, and they drew up plans for rail links to the Russian Far East.
Parliamentarians also passed legislation blocking investment by foreign state-owned firms, aimed at blocking plans by the China Aluminium Corporation (2600.HK)(601600.SS) to acquire the Mongolia-based SouthGobi Resources (SGQ.TO).
But Mongolia can't be choosy. The government has been forced to implement austerity measures to secure a $5.5 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund in May.
Ultimately, economic growth may hold more allure for voters than nationalism, said Sumati Luvsanvandev, head of the Sant Maral Foundation polling group.
"Anti-China sentiment cannot bring support to Battulga. They are interested in economic prosperity," he said of voters.
"They may be suspicious, but they're also quite pragmatic."
(Additional reporting and writing by David Stanway in SHANGHAI; Editing by Tony Munroe, Robert Birsel)...
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) - Mongolians will vote for a new president on Monday in a race pitting a horse salesman against a former judo star and a nationalist wanting to get more from the vast landlocked country's mineral wealth.
The three candidates are seeking to succeed Tsakhia Elbegdorj of the Democratic Party who has served the maximum of two four-year terms. While the nation of 3 million had been an oasis of democratic stability since the end of communist rule nearly three decades ago, its politics have grown increasingly fractious amid an economic crisis and accusations of corruption among the ruling class.
Speaker of the parliament and horse dealer Miyegombo Enkhbold is representing the Mongolian People's Party, which won a landslide victory in legislative elections last year. He faces off against judo champion and business tycoon Khaltmaa Batulgaa of the Democratic Party, with Sainkhuu Ganbaatar of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party rounding out the field.
It's unclear whether Ganbaatar will be eligible to run after a video surfaced of him accepting a campaign donation from a South Korean citizen.
Sandwiched between Russia and China, resource-rich Mongolia has been roiled by financial upheaval and the increasing draw of China's economic and political influence that competes with its ties with the democratic West, especially the United States.
"This election looks orchestrated from the very beginning, with nomination of candidates in a very strange way," said Sumati Luvsandendev, director of the liberal-leaning Mongolian think tank the Sant Maral Foundation. "I have never seen an election like it."
Enkhbold, campaigning under the slogan of "National unity; Mongolian pride," is widely seen as representing stability at a time when Mongolia is showing tentative signs of recovery from its economic crisis brought about by a dramatic drop in global commodity prices.
He has been tainted by allegations of corruption, however. Last month, an audio tape was leaked to the public purportedly of a 90-minute conversation in 2014 between Enkhbold and two of his party's officials discussing a $25 million bribe to reshuffle government positions.
Batulgaa has campaigned on a "Mongolia First" policy, borrowing the language of U.S. President Donald Trump. His manifesto promises "a patriotic president" seeking "equal cooperation" with neighbors like China, which he has criticized in the past.
His company, "Genco," is one of Mongolia's largest, with businesses including hotels, media, banking, alcohol, horsemeat and a Genghis Khan-themed complex. He was also minister of agriculture between 2012 and 2014 and a former member of parliament, as well as president of the Mongolian Judo Association.
However, he too has been tarnished following an investigation last year by the Independent Authority Against Corruption into an alleged misappropriation of funds for a new railway during his time as minister of transport. Batulgaa is also reported to have various offshore accounts, an increasingly sensitive topic.
Ganbaatar, who like Batulgaa failed to keep his seat in 2016, has been a vocal critic of mining giant Rio Tinto, earning him past popularity. The self-described feng shui master and "Robin Hood" has often claimed the country should get a better deal with the company over its copper and gold mine, Oyu Tolgoi. The mine, 66 percent held by Rio subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources, will account for one third of Mongolia's gross national product by 2020, according to estimates.
Foreign investment in Mongolia has slumped in recent years following weaker commodity prices and high-profile disputes between the government and large investors including Rio Tinto. Mongolia's economy grew just 1 percent last year, down from 17.5 percent in 2011 when it was the world's fastest growing. It now has $23 billion in debt, more than double the size of its economy. Unemployment is roughly 9 percent, with about one in five Mongolians living in poverty.
"Business is difficult," said Erdenechimeg Gunhabaatar, a 26-year-old fruit vendor and father of two. "I really think my government is in a difficult situation, especially with the economic crisis."
"I really hope with the new president, things will get better," Gunhabaatar said.
The country recently secured a $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund-led bailout to stem its financial crisis, with a $500 million bond repayment due in January 2018. Enkhbold's party pledges to continue the IMF's program, including higher taxes and spending cuts, while Ganbaatar has criticized the IMF.
That bailout will likely limit any Mongolian government's room for maneuver over the next several years, said Julian Dierkes, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia.
"The IMF plays a huge role; it locks in certain budgets and raises taxes," Dierkes said.
While a Sant Maral poll earlier this year suggested a strong lead for Enkhbold of the MPP, Luvsandendev says the likelihood of low voter turnout makes the result now "impossible to predict."
At least 50 percent of eligible voters must cast ballots for the election to be valid.
"The youth don't see themselves in the candidates," said Lkhagva Erdene, executive producer of news at independent broadcaster MongolTV. "We and many others feel the only road ahead is the one we pave ourselves."
Saruul Enkhbold contributed to this report....
Vice Ministers, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s my great pleasure to welcome you here, as we come together to mark the official birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
No monarch has reigned longer.
At her coronation in 1953 the Queen promised the peoples she served across the globe:
“Throughout all my life, and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
It’s one thing for a 26 year to utter those words. It is another to live by them for the next 65 years; today Her Majesty is Queen of 16 UN member states and head of the Commonwealth of 52 nations.
So I would like you to raise your glasses for the first toast of the afternoon, to Her Majesty: [The Queen]
Birthdays are a moment to celebrate. And there is much to celebrate in the last year of relations between Mongolia and the UK. Polo, countering the illegal wildlife trade, enhancing export standards, strengthening mental health care, championing women’s rights, the UK and Mongolia are working together here, in the UK, and globally on things that matter to us, that matter to Mongolia, and that matter to the world we all live in.
That wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated embassy team and without all of you, our friends, colleagues and partners. Each of you is here because of what the UK and Mongolia are doing together. And the number and diversity of you says more than words. Thank you.
But birthdays are also a moment to reflect. Reflect on what has changed. What has stayed the same. What has happened. The Queen’s Birthday is no exception.
As the oldest and longest reigning monarch in the world, Her Majesty’s Birthday allows us a particularly long period of reflexion. 91 years to be precise.
But does any of us truly understand what 91 years means? To bring it to life I’m going to quote a short extract from two things that were written in 1926, the year Her Majesty was born.
The first is from a car manual:
The engine is started by the lifting of the crank at the front of the car. Take hold of the handle and push firmly toward the car till you feel the crank engage, then lift upward with a quick swing. With a little experience this operation will become an easy matter.
Fortunately, none of you arrived today having had to use a starting-crank. The beautiful Range Rovers at the entrance demonstrate far better than my speech just how much technology has changed over Her Majesty’s life – and I would like to thank Jaguar Land Rover for their sponsorship of today’s celebration.
The second extract comes from the British children’s classic Winnie the Pooh, also written in 1926:
“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
All of us will recognise immediately that moment that so confused Pooh. As the kaleidoscope of technology changes around us, human nature remains stubbornly constant.
That said, I know you won’t have Pooh’s feeling when you visit our sponsor Portmeirion in the Shangri-La mall - as I hope you all will. I thank Portmeirion today, and every time I have tea in my favourite cup. I am never disappointed.
Change and continuity. Which brings me to the last of my three birthday reflexions: what has happened.
A lot in the last year. Since I last stood here both of our countries have had parliamentary elections. And the UK has voted to leave the European Union - a perfect example of continuity and change.
The UK is exiting the EU. But we are not leaving Europe – that would be impossible, our culture, our values and our geography are inextricably entwined with our friends on the Continent.
The UK’s outward looking engagement with the world will also remain unchanged.
Our sponsor Holiday Inn, part of UK InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, is a perfect example of that. IHG’s origins lie in the founding of the Bass Brewery in 1777. Last year I was delighted to open Holiday Inn in Mongolia 9000km and 239 years later - a place that will further invigorate Mongolian business and tourism.
The UK’s global engagement is clear. We remain the only G7 country to have met our UN commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas development. We have the largest defence spend in Europe. And our universities will continue to foster some of the world’s greatest minds; the only countries to have more Nobel Prize winners than my university, Cambridge, alone has nurtured, are the US, UK and Germany, in that order. Of all the world’s heads of state and government, one in every seven was educated in Britain.
But as the Queen celebrates another birthday, we should pause for one final reflexion. Her Majesty is the only living head of state to have served in World War II. Shortly after her 18th birthday the then Princess Elizabeth trained as a war-time mechanic and truck driver.
3 weeks ago, over 70 years later, Her Majesty toured the wards of Manchester’s Children’s Hospital. She was there to talk with children who had been blown up leaving a concert.
Terrorism stalks the world. And today we remember those affected in recent weeks.
But I also want us to reflect on our personal response.
After the horrific attack, many thousands of people gathered in the central square in Manchester to commemorate the 22 who died and the dozens of injured. After the silence, the crowd struck up a song by Manchester band Oasis: don’t look back in anger.
We stand here today, the UK and Mongolia, as proud democratic nations. Let me conclude with something else the Queen said on her coronation day.
“Parliamentary institutions, with their free speech and respect for the rights of minorities, and the inspiration of a broad tolerance in thought and expression — all this we conceive to be a precious part of our way of life and outlook.
I ask you now to cherish them — and practice them too; then we can go forward together in peace, seeking justice and freedom for all men.”
Politics, events, what happens are shaped by people. We each have a personal part to play. We can choose to engage, to counter the narratives of hate, whatever mask they wear, whether of religion, ideology or nationalism.
Or we can choose to stand by and watch.
Each of us is here today because we have influence and, in different ways, power over narratives or people. As we make our choice each day, let us think of that 26 year old Queen:
“Throughout all my life, and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
May we strive to be worthy of the trust of those over whom we have influence.
Mongolian National Broadcaster announced to organize the first Presidential debate for 2017 election on Jun 24 at 9 p.m. The debate will be carried live nationwide across Mongolian National Broadcaster, Mongolian News, and Mongolian radio.
All three presidential candidates; namely, a nominee of Mongolian People`s Party M.Enkhbold, a nominee of Democratic Party Kh.Battulga and a nominee of Mongolian People`s Revolutionary Party S.Ganbaatar will appear in the debate.
People are able to send their questions until 12 a.m today through 318971, 328643, 7000-1630 and email@example.com as well as http://election2017.mnb.mn
The questions will cover following issues;
Legal and Justice
Economic and social situation
Security and foreign policy
Three build-operate-transfer road projects are being planned in Mongolia. The projects will be carried out between 2017 and 2020. One project is for a 272km link connecting Bichigt with Baruun-Urt. Another project will be carried out from 2017 to 2019 and involves rebuilding the 250km road joining Gashuunsukhait with Tavantolgoi. Widening of a 205km road from capital Ulaanbaatar to Darkan is also planned with the link being upgraded to having two lanes in either direction.
The aims of the projects are to boost safety and capacity, as well as increasing economic activity directly through activating the road construction sector or developing other industries through the availability of better transport links.
BEIJING, June 23 (Reuters) - China's coal imports from Indonesia in May rose 24.5 percent from a year ago to 3.86 million tonnes, the highest level since July 2012, customs data showed on Friday.
Mongolian arrivals during May rose 42 percent from a year earlier to 3.16 million tonnes, while supply from Australia, China's largest coal supplier, fell 5 percent from a year ago, the data showed.
Cuba and Mongolia sign Agreement for the Mutual Recognition of Academic Degrees www.misiones.minrex.gob.cu
Ulaanbaatar. June 22, 2017. His Excellency, Mr Gelegpil Chuluunbaatar, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Mongolia, signed an agreement on Mutual Recognition of Programs of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education between Mongolia and the Republic of Cuba. On the Cuban side, the Agreement was signed by Cuban Ambassador Raúl Delgado Concepción, who emphasized in his words that this agreement will allow young Mongolian graduates in Cuba to validate their academic qualifications automatically upon their return to Mongolia to begin their professional life.
The Ambassador also pointed out that cooperation in educational matters remains one of the main aspects of the relationship between the two countries, which has allowed more than 160 young Mongols to study different university degrees in Cuba. Of the 20 young Mongolians currently in higher education in Cuba, 19 of them do so in the medical school.
Minister for his part highlighted the results achieved by Cuba in education and said he was happy to be with Cuba with whom he could sign such an important agreement for both countries, which laid the foundations for continuing to strengthen ties of cooperation.
The ceremony was attended representing the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Mongolia, by Mrs. Т.Amarjargalan, Director of Higher Education, Ms E.Enkh-Amgalan, Director of Foreign Cooperation and Ms L.Tsedewsuren , Head of the Department of Administration and Public Management. Representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia was present Mr. Ganbold, Deputy Director General of the Department of America, Middle East and Africa. (EmbaCuba Mongolia)