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map courtesy CIA World Factbook; click for enlargement Constitution, Government & Legislation

Until 1990, the Mongolian Government was modeled on the Soviet system; only the communist party--the MPRP--officially was permitted to function. After some instability during the first two decades of communist rule in Mongolia, there was no significant popular unrest until December 1989.

The birth of perestroika in the former Soviet Union and the democracy movement in Eastern Europe were mirrored in Mongolia. The dramatic shift toward reform started in early 1990 when the first organized opposition group, the Mongolian Democratic Union, appeared. In the face of extended street protests in sub-zero weather and popular demands for faster reform, the politburo of the MPRP resigned in March 1990. In May, the Constitution was amended, deleting reference to the MPRP's role as the guiding force in the country, legalizing opposition parties, creating a standing legislative body, and establishing the office of President.

Mongolia's first multi-party elections for a People's Great Hural were held on July 29, 1990. The MPRP won 85% of the seats. The People's Great Hural first met on September 3 and elected a president (MPRP), vice president (SDP--Social Democrats), prime minister (MPRP), and 50 members to the Baga Hural (small Hural). In November 1991, the People's Great Hural began discussion on a new constitution, which entered into force February 12. In addition to establishing Mongolia as an independent, sovereign republic, guaranteeing a number of rights and freedoms and providing that the president would be elected by popular vote rather than by the legislature, the new constitution restructured the legislative branch of government, creating a unicameral legislature, the State Great Hural (SGH).

As the supreme government organ, the SGH is empowered to enact and amend laws, determine domestic and foreign policy, ratify international agreements, and declare a state of emergency. The SGH meets semiannually. SGH members elect a chairman and vice chairman who serve 4-year terms. SGH members are popularly elected by district for 4-year terms. The first completely noncommunist government was installed in July 1996, headed by Prime Minister M. Enkhsaihan.

The president is the head of state, commander in chief of the armed forces, and head of the national security council. He is popularly elected by a national majority for a 4-year term and limited to two terms. The constitution empowers the president to propose a prime minister, call for the government's dissolution, initiate legislation, veto all or parts of legislation (the SGH can override the veto with a two-thirds majority), and issue decrees, which become effective with the prime minister's signature. In the absence, incapacity, or resignation of the president, the SGH chairman exercises presidential power until inauguration of a newly elected president. In the most recent presidential election on May 18, 1997, the MPRP candidate, N. Bagabandi, was elected with 57% of the vote.

The government, headed by the prime minister, has a 4-year term. The prime minister is nominated by the president and confirmed by the SGH. The prime minister chooses a cabinet, subject to SGH approval. Dissolution of the government occurs upon the prime minister's resignation, simultaneous resignation of half the cabinet, or after an SGH vote for dissolution.

Source: U.S. Department of State

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Courts & Judgments

Constitutional Court is empowered to supervise the implementation of the constitution, makes judgment on the violation of its provisions, and solves disputes. Legal code based on Continental and Russian law is under revision. No provision for judicial review of legislative acts. Legal education at Mongolian State Univ. and private universities. Mongolia accepts ICJ jurisdiction.

Source: U.S. Department of State

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Human Rights

The Mongolian Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens in 2001; however, problems remain in some areas. Members of the police at times beat prisoners and detainees. Pretrial detention conditions are poor although prison conditions are improving. There were no deaths reported during the year in detention centers but a number of prisoners died while in prison. Arbitrary arrest and detention are problems, as is corruption. There are restrictions on due process for persons arrested or suspected of crimes. Government attempts to enforce compliance by newspapers, magazines, television, and radio with moral strictures and tax laws may have been an attempt to intimidate the media and have resulted in self-censorship by the press. During the year, the authorities denied entry to some persons claiming refugee status; however, the authorities determined these persons to be "economic immigrants" and not refugees. Official harassment of some religious groups seeking registration persisted. Domestic violence against women is a serious problem; however, efforts to assist victims continued to increase during the year. Child abuse and child labor also are problems. There were some instances of forced labor, and some women seeking work overseas may have become victims of trafficking schemes. In February the Government established a National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR). In October the NCHR published its first public report, which criticized the Government for abuses and faulted the Parliament and the Courts for failure to fully protect human rights.

Source: U.S. Department of State

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