Mongolian parliament approves appointment of PM despite opposition boycott

ULAN BATOR, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian parliament approved at a session on Friday the appointment of a new prime minister nominated by the ruling Democratic Party, despite boycott by the opposition Mongolian People's Party (MPP).
Forty-two of the 44 parliament members who attended the parliament session gave a "yes" vote to the appointment of Chimed Saikhanbileg -- a veteran politician of the Democratic Party and the incumbent chief of the government secretariat -- as the new prime minister.
All 26 lawmakers of the MPP, however, stayed away from the parliamentary session on the premiership in a show of protest.
Earlier, the MPP stated that it will not support the Democratic People's nomination of Saikhanbileg as the new prime minister.
"We can't accept the nomination of the person who was working in the previous cabinet and who was instrumental in the deterioration of the economy and accumulation of debt", the MPP said in a statement.
Under Mongolian law, Saikhanbileg has to form a new government within two weeks.
The 45-year-old politician vowed to continuously implement the previous government's policies and said that he would make some difficult decisions that would upset some people.
In particular, he underlined that issues concerned with two major mines in Oyu Tolgoi and Taven Tolgoi must be dealt with in painstaking efforts to cope with the current economic crisis.
It is expected that Saikhanbileg will conduct intensive negotiation with Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto over expansion of the underground copper and gold mine of Oyu Tolgoi in South Gobi region of Mongolia.
The inland country is expected to receive much-needed cash to boost the economy, if the government's negotiation with Rio Tinto goes smoothly and the mining giant decides to resume its underground mine expansion.
On Nov. 5, the Mongolian parliament ousted former Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag from the Democratic Party, who was allegedly involved in corruption scandals.



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