Editorial: Implications of the Prime Minister Bayar's resignation

It has just been announced Prime Minister Bayar Sanjaa is resigning due to deteriorating health. Bayar never hid the fact the he suffers from hepatitis C. Liver disease due to Hepatitis C or B virus is one of most common diseases in Mongolia.
He gone through medical tests and treatment in South Korea and Singapore. Last week, he was treated in hospital no.2 of Ulaanbaatar.Liver disease is a silent killer and progresses slowly without much symptoms. Long work hours and stress and heavy responsibility of the Premiership coupled with careless life of single man took toll on Bayar's health.
Mongolian media for sometime speculated about possible resignation of the Premier.

However, Health Minister Lambaa denied this last week.When Bayar became Prime Minister in November, 2007, he pushed for start of mega-mining projects such as Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi. As Prime Minister, he took back mining license of Tavan Tolgoi coking coal mine from privately held consortium of "Energy Resources" comprised of powerful companies with connection to some of top legislators and ministers. Tavan Tolgoi is a coal mine discovered and explored by state fund during Communist time before 1990s.Tough-talking and determined Bayar regained right of state to own the deposit from private companies, which was not dared by previous premier.
He was able to persuade MPRP legislators of importance of passing Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement sooner than later.In order to support domestic agricultural farming and food production, he initiated "third virgin land campaign" to till farm land and grow vegetables and grain in Mongolia.
Many in Mongolia saw Bayar as a man who does what he said. During his premiership, Mongolia saw unprecendented street riot after 2008 parliamentary election. Confrontation between Elbegdorj,then chairman of the Democratic Party and Bayar was televized live that day of street riot. Bayar blamed Elbegdorj for instigating the rioters.

Bayar was a prime minister with unwavering determination. He did not use ambigious language with media. He was very direct. His absence from Mongolian political life could complicate further mining deals and future development of country. A lot will depend on who will replace Bayar. MPRP Conference will decide on next prime minister on this Wednesday.

By Ganbat, reporter of MonInfo News Service



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