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Mongolia elects PM but more protests expected

Mongolia's parliament voted the mayor of its capital of Ulan Bator as the new prime minister on Wednesday.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 09:43 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Mongolia's parliament voted the mayor of its capital of Ulan Bator as the new prime minister on Wednesday.

With the new PM, Mongolia has found a short-term solution to a crisis likely to prompt further protests in the spring.

The trouble began two weeks ago when more than half of the cabinet, all members of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, quit the coalition government of Prime Minister Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, a Democrat.

Supporters of both sides launched muted protests in the city in sub-freezing temperatures, but more are expected when the weather warms up in the spring.

Ulan Bator Mayor Enkhbold, who goes by one name, is the chief of the MPRP, which ran Mongolia as a Soviet satellite for much of the 20th century.

The Democrats say the MPRP may have toppled Elbegdorj's administration to halt his campaign against corruption, and have vowed to form their own shadow cabinet rather than take part in an MPRP-organised government.

The MPRP says it pulled out of the coalition over a slowdown in economic growth since 2004 and rising inflation.

Power shuffles are not new in Mongolia, a vast country that was once the centre of one of the world's greatest empires under Genghis Khan.

Four governments were formed in as many years since the last time the Democrats were in power between 1996 and 2000.

The country, where nearly half of the 2.5 million population are nomadic herders and whose economy relies on mining for the bulk of its foreign investment, overthrew decades of Soviet dominance in 1991 in favour of democratic rule.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 09:43 IST