Wait for Mongolian election results risks rising tension

By bne IntelliNews June 29, 2012

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Rumours of counting problems, complaints and false promises are flowing around Ulaanbaatar, as Mongolia awaits the delayed results of the June 28 elections. As the wait extends, so does concern over achieving a smooth transition to a new parliament.

It's reported that around eight polling stations from around the country have yet to report conclusive results, delaying the final verdict throughout the night and well into June 29. Full preliminary results are expected by the end of the day, but there is a 15-day window to deliver the final oifficial numbers.

Currently it is estimated that the opposition Democratic Party (DP) have won 23 of the 48 constituency seats, with the incumbent Mongolian People's Party (MPP) taking 19, and the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and independents sharing the remaining six seat equally. If correct, over half of the MPs will be newcomers, giving the population the change many called for.

On top of this another 28 proportional seats are to come based on the winning party. It is rumoured that the DP are winning with 50% of the total vote, but again confirmation has yet to be given on timing or certainty.

Based on the information released, most predict that the DP will win the most seats, but as the numbers are so tight this may not be enough for them to form their own government. Coalitions may be formed against or with them to secure the majority needed, but final results are needed before these options are considered.

There were many precautions taken to make sure the counting process was fair, given the riots sparked by accusations of vote rigging at the last elections in 2008. Univision TV set up webcams at many different polling stations, making everyone a potential "observer". Meanwhile, high security machines were brought in to count the votes. However, speculation is growing that the official in charge of them has been arrested for trying to manipulate the process.

The lack of an immediate solid result is, in itself, potentially the worst result, as many were hoping for a swift, smooth transition of power. The longer the wait for official guidance on the results, the higher the tension will rise. Should the speculation over the arrest of the official running the vote counting prove true, the chance of protest will rise substantially.

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