ERDENE, Mongolia (Reuters) – An hour’s drive from Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar, a lavish monument to national hero Genghis Khan could provide a salutary lesson to the man who built it a decade ago: champion wrestler, businessman and current president, Battulga Khaltmaa.
Beneath a giant stainless steel statue, portraits of the 13th century warlord’s successors line the corridors of a museum. Nearly all of them saw their lives cut short during vicious fights for supremacy in medieval Mongolia’s royal courts.
Mongolia - Crossroads - Frustration - Mounts - Disputes
Mongolia is at a political crossroads as public frustration mounts over disputes holding back vital mining and infrastructure projects, and President Battulga is preparing for a power struggle.
Following a 1990 revolution, the former Soviet satellite has been regarded as an “oasis of democracy” sandwiched between the authoritarian regimes of Russia and China.
Power - Sharing - President - Government - Parliament
But power sharing between an elected president and a government appointed by parliament has left the country in near-permanent deadlock, unable to make progress on major projects or tackle chronic problems including choking air pollution.
Battulga said last year Mongolia was incapable of solving what he described as a “systemic crisis”. He is now trying to change the constitution, raising fears he is trying to usher in an era of “strongman” politics.
Battulga - Mongolia - Democracy
Battulga says he is not seeking to erode Mongolia’s 29-year old democracy.
“More than a quarter of a century has passed, but we still haven’t been able to achieve all the expectations we had in 1990,” Battulga told Reuters in his office in the State Great Khural, Mongolia’s parliament.
“What we all know is that change is inevitable,” he said. “All we need to resolve right now is how to carry it out.”
Sumati Luvsandendev, a political analyst and head of the Sant Maral Foundation, a polling group, said Mongolians were crying out for a “strong” leader like Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev or Russia’s Putin. But with...
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