The Guardian July 12, 2000


Landslide win for communists in Mongolia

According to a Reuters dispatch from Ulan Bator, the Mongolian People's 
Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has won a landslide in recent elections. The 
MPRP won 72 of the 76 seats contested with 75.8 percent of registered 
voters turning out for the poll.

The MPRP which held power in socialist Mongolia has been out of power since 
1996 when "market reformers" and "democrats" won government. They called in 
the IMF and as a result the standard of living and security of Mongolian 
families has plummeted.

The "democratic" government imposed IMF demanded austerity measures and 
many of Mongolia's 2.4 million people were plunged into poverty.

The leader of the MPRP indicated that the there will be a roll-back of the 
privatisation of public enterprises which had been a feature of the 
policies of the "free-marketeers". "Mongolians are realising that magic 
words like `privatisation' don't bring a better quality of life 
automatically", he said.

Many Mongolians welcomed the prospect of strong government after years of 
messy democratic politics, said the Reuters report.

"People are dying of hunger and youngsters are turning to crime", said 
herder Chimeddorj, 67, as a crowd of MPRP supporters cheered outside party 
headquarters.

Meanwhile a Western diplomat fearful at this setback to their plans for a 
capitalist future for Mongolia said: "We'll have to watch very carefully 
for any retrograde movement on basic freedoms." He means freedom for 
capital not freedom to have an education or health services for the people.

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