Who has the real power in Mongolia?

Written by G.Chingis

This is probably the most difficult question for foreign investors. There are several ways to start to think about investing in Mongolia.

Sometimes, you will meet Mongolians in your country; or you might be invited to Mongolia for some reason. Of course, foreigners will think the way he/she thinks due to their national background. Russians, Central Asians will think that the most powerful man in this country is the President of Mongolia. Europeans will think about the parliament. Koreans and other Asians will think about the Mongolian military. In the end, this is also quite a difficult question for Mongolians too.

Let us start with the President of Mongolia. The first President of Mongolia was Mr. P. Ochirbat. He managed to stay in office for two terms: For the first term, Mr. P. Ochirbat was nominated by the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), and for the second term he managed to be nominated by their rival, the Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP). Therefore, Mr. P. Ochirbat was the first “democratic” President of Mongolia. The concept of presidency was very new for him and for Mongolians as well. Mongolia was suffering from a devastating crisis; Mongolians were receiving food through ration cards. Anyway, Mr. P. Ochirbat was a more entertaining President than a powerful one. People remember him more for the first Mongolian oilfield, and he was famous with his participation of various New Years Parties.

The second President of Mongolia, Mr. N. Bagabandi was very powerful. He killed many people’s dreams in his bid to become Prime Minister of Mongolia. Probably, some of them will never realize that dream. Therefore, foreign investors thought that the President of Mongolia was the most powerful man in this country. But it is unclear who was the most powerful at that time? Mr. N. Bagabandi or his subordinates, such as the Head of his administration, current Members of Parliament, former Prime Minister, Mr. S. Bayar and/or other people, such as his various advisers.

The third President of Mongolia, Mr. N. Enkhbayar was powerful too. But, he was not as powerful as Mr. N. Bagabandi. In the end, he lost his second term bid, and Mr. N. Enkhbayar almost finished his political career at that time.

Now, Mongolia has its fourth President of Mongolian, Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj. Is he powerful or not? Usually, every Mongolian will say to foreigners that he is very powerful. Probably, Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj would say the same stuff. And he actually did this during his last visit to Japan. His visit there overlapped with another state visit to Japan. Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj was competing with the President of the USA Mr. Barak Obama. There was a huge crowd in Kyoto, where the American President wanted to see some sights, and visit some places where he was with his grandmother; Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj also wanted to see places in Kyoto too. Nevertheless, his visit to Russia was postponed and his relationship with the President of Russia is a big headache for him.

So, what about the Prime Minister of Mongolia? Usually, PT’s are very important for investors, but they are unreliable due to their typically short terms. Russians were so excited with Mr. S. Bayar; in the end he left them with nothing, even Mr. S. Bayar was visiting Russia every three months. Russians even received in their dreams Oyu Tolgoi, Tavan Tolgoi and Mongolian uranium. Psychologists know this important phenomenon: when you will lose, you will say that the external environment was negative, and when you will win, you will say that it was due to his/her genius skills. Therefore, foreign investors should prepare for the success of Prime Minister of Mongolia. Then you might see in his interview that thanks to his extraordinary skills, he succeeded with the project. Of course, the Prime Minister will never say that thanks to the astonishing efforts of foreign investors we succeeded.

The parliament of Mongolia is the most powerful structure in Mongolia. But it is unrealistic to make a simultaneous deal with 76 Members of Parliament. Of course, some foreign investors tried to take such steps. It is unrealistic unless you will approach them all simultaneously. Otherwise, some of these 76 Members of Parliament will say, “Why I am the last person in this line.”

The military in Mongolia is not powerful at all. They are underfinanced; they do not any connections with Mongolian politics and business. We are different from South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and other Asian countries in terms of power distribution.

In the end, every foreign investor should find his own unique solution. They need to forget their backgrounds, and their experiences in other countries. It is time consuming, but challenging to succeed in Mongolia. By the way, Mongolian investors do the same thing. It is difficult for them as well.
source: The UB Post

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