DEMOCRACY IN MONGOLIA

DEMOCRACY IN MONGOLIA

Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan are home to Central Asia’s only multi-party democracy. Mongolia is arguably the most democratic of all the post Soviet states in Asia. Since Mongolia became independent in 1990, political power has peacefully changed hands a half dozen times and national elections have been free of charges of fraud and vote rigging. This contrasts markedly with four of five of former Soviet countries in Central Asia — Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — which all have authoritarian governments

According to the U.S. Department of State: In 2013, President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of the Democratic Party was re-elected with 50.23 percent of the vote. The most recent parliamentary elections, held every four years, took place in 2012. Polling place observers judged both elections to have been generally free and fair in accordance with the constitution and international standards, but expert observers concluded that vague equal access provisions of the election law prevented the media from playing a significant role in providing relevant information to voters. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control over security forces. [Source: “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015: Mongolia,” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State]

When pollsters first began going out to the steppe and asking nomads what they thought, many nomads cried. Why? Because, one pollster told the New Yorker, “It was the first time they felt somebody cares about what they think.”

Mongolians are said to be receptive to new ideas and value freedom and democracy after so many years under Chinese and Soviet domination. In a poll taken in 2001, 87 percent of Mongolians said they supported the shift to democracy in 1990 and 52 percent said they were satisfied with the present political system. Among old people, however, there was a lot of nostalgia for the old Soviet system and the security and stability it brought

See Separate Article MONGOLIA BREAKS AWAY FROM THE SOVIET UNION under History

History of Democracy in Mongolia

Peter Hessler wrote in The New Yorker, “Mongolia has a long history of occupation by foreign powers. Before the Qing dynasty fell, in 1911, the country had been a Chinese protectorate for more than two centuries, and in 1921 it became a satellite of the Soviet Union. In 1990, a democratic movement gathered force as the Soviet advisers withdrew. Since then, Mongolia has been in a remarkable period of transition. Political power has peacefully changed hands twice, and the national elections have not been marred by accusations of fraud. Voter turnout is routinely more than eighty per cent, and the country ranks high in the Freedom House index, which measures a country’s pluralism and respect for human rights. [Source: Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, July 16, 2001 ~~]

“Meanwhile, Mongolia’s neighbors to the west, the other new Central Asian republics, have slipped into authoritarianism. Western observers often describe Mongolia, which shares a northern border with Russia and a southern border with China, as an island of democracy in a decidedly undemocratic part of the world. ~~

“Anthropologists have suggested that Mongolia’s receptiveness to democracy derives, in part, from its traditional nomadic way of life, which encourages both individualism and an adaptability to outside forces, particularly the weather. Temperatures in the Gobi Desert, which occupies a third of the country, can rise above a hundred degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and drop below minus-forty degrees in the winter. ~~

Beginning of the Transition to Democracy in Mongolia, in the Late 1980s

The Mongolian People's Republic was undergoing a major transition in the development of its government and political institutions in the late 1980s. Beginning in 1984, the country had embarked on a program to restructure its political and economic system in ways that engaged the entire population and made it responsible and accountable for the country's modernization. Much of the inspiration for this program came from the Soviet Union's examples of glasnost and perestroika. [Source: Library of Congress, June 1989 *]

Nevertheless, in developing its policies, Mongolia's senior leadership displayed a realistic awareness not only of the severe challenges, but also of the opportunities, afforded by Mongolia's unique political, social, economic, and geophysical conditions. There were efforts by mid-1989 to revive key elements of the Mongolian cultural heritage. This effort apparently was inspired by the recognized need to instill vitality in a polity long stifled by the wholesale imposition of Soviet models. Openings to the West, including the 1987 establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States, increased Mongolia's options within the international diplomatic community and provided additional developmental models. Finally, by mid-1989, the gradual normalizing of Sino-Soviet relations had helped significantly to reduce the tensions inherent in Mongolia's strategic location, enveloped between these giant countries, which facilitated a resurgence of Mongolian national identity and allowed a small measure of Mongolian political independence. *

Party and Government of Mongolia in the 1980s: Communist, modeled on Soviet system; limited degree of private ownership permitted by 1960 Constitution. Unicameral People's Great Hural with 370 deputies elected in June 1986 for four-year term; 328 were members or candidate members of ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party. Council of Ministers with highest executive power. Political processes guided in theory by People's Great Hural, which enacts basic laws of country, but real power vested in tenperson party Political Bureau. Central Committee appoints and removes Political Bureau members and is itself appointed by National Party Congress. Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party only legal party in 1989. Land, natural resources, factories, transport, and banking organizations are state property. Cooperative ownership of most public enterprises, especially livestock herding. *

Mongolia Breaks Away from the Soviet Union

Mongolia experienced a relatively smooth transition from being a Soviet satellite to being an independent democracy. It Mongolia ended seven decades of communist rule in 1990 and held its first elections in 1992. Since then, its transition to a democratic capitalist state has been largely peaceful.

By the 1980s, Mongolia like the Soviet Union was stagnating and the Mongolian populace had become dissatisfied with the rigid centrally controlled government and the domination of the Communist party. A process of liberalization and reform began in 1984 when the reformer Jambyn Batmongke became leader of Mongolia. Inspired by Gorbachev, he launched a glasnost and perestroika campaign, based some modest economic reforms and improved relations with China.

Changes in East Europe in 1989 led to protests against Soviet control in Ulaanbaatar. In March l990, large pro-democracy demonstrations and hunger strikes were held in sub-zero temperatures in front of the Parliament building on the main square in Ulaanbaatar. Radnaasumbereliin Gonchigdorj, a son of a Buddhist monk and a former math professor, was one of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement. Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who became prime minister in 2004, was another key member. He founded Mongolia’s first independent newspaper and was a charter member of a group now revered as the 13 First Democrats. He led the street protest that ultimately toppled the government, “We were tough, we went to jail, we led a hunger strike,” he said.

The demonstrations occurred less than a year after the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing and some Communist hardliners wanted to used tanks and troops to put down the protests. Mongolia’s communist rulers were faced with an almost identical scenario as their Chinese counterparts. Students and working people had occupied the capital city’s central square, demanding that the next election be freely contested. But the outcome was different in Mongolia: the politburo split and the moderates, instead of the hardliners as in China, prevailed. Batmongke failed to sign the order for a military crackdown. News about the event was published in the local press and the government became very nervous. Batmongke was removed from power and political parties sprung up over night.

In March 1990, the politburo, fearing an Easter European kind of revolt, resigned, the Communist Party renounced power and changed its name to the Mongolian Peoples Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and called for elections. In May the constitution was amended to allow multi-party elections in July 1990. Within a few years, Mongolia was a full, functioning democracy.

Reforms and Liberalization in Mongolia in the 1980s

Like the countries of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, Mongolia began to reform its social, political, and economic sectors and to be more open to the West. The changes set in motion by the replacement of Yumjaagiyn Tsedenbal with the reformist leadership of Batmonh in 1984. [Source: Robert L. Worden, Library of Congress, June 1989 *]

Amidst the criticism of Mongolian leaders, the previous negative analysis of the historical role of Chinggis Khan was revised. Chinggis was seen in an increasingly favorable light as the Mongol nation's founder and a national hero, a position not well received in Moscow. Calls for publication of historical texts and literature in Mongolian classical script rather than Cyrillic grew, and usage of Mongolian rather than Russian-language words increased. Fears were expressed in official circles mid-way in 1989 that some of the new nationalist pride might be taking a dangerous anti-Soviet line, and appropriate warnings were made to those whose thinking may have been swayed by "bourgeois propaganda." *

Western material culture also took hold in reform-minded Mongolia. Semi-professional rock music groups emerged after a decade of low-key development and avant-grade art began to enjoy official sanction. The emphasis on cultural reform, however, appeared to concentrate on a renewed interest in traditional prerevolutionary achievements. *

Domestic organizational activity also took place. A new draft Constitution of the Mongolian People's Republic would be forthcoming was announced in August 1989 as part of the process of changing "outdated laws and rules necessitated by the process of renewal . . . ." Top leadership changes, such as when Minister of Defense Jamsrangiyn Yondon retired in September 1989 and was replaced by Lieutenant General Lubsangombyn Molomjamts, also took place. *

Political Changes in Mongolia in the Late 1980s and Early 1990s

The 1980s ended with a the Seventh Plenary Session of the party congress and a two-day session of the Great People's Hural. The party plenum retired three Political Bureau members and appointed two new, younger men to candidate membership. The plenary session closed with a resolution calling for more energetic implementation of the party's economic and social policy and a promise to hold the Twentieth Congress of the Mongolia People's Revolutionary Party in late November 1990. For the first time, Great People's Hural sessions were broadcast nationally over both radio and television as the deputies approved a draft socio-economic development plan and a draft state budget for 1990. Universal, equal, and direct suffrage through secret ballot for national and local assembly elections was provided in a draft law also approved by the Great People's Hural.

In December 1989 and early 1990, the Mongolian Democratic Union, a group of intellectuals and students labeled as an "unauthorized organization" by the government-controlled media, started holding rallies in Ulaanbaatar, first to voice support for the party and hural documents on socio-economic reconstruction but later to demand democracy, government reform, and a multi-party system. They also advocated bringing Tsedenbal, who had been living in Moscow since 1984, to trial for having allowed Mongolia to stagnate during his thirty-two-year regime.

An early response from the Political Bureau was the announcement that it had rehabilitated people illegally repressed in the 1930s and 1940s. Amidst contradictory reports of whether or not the party and government had both granted official recognition to the union but banned public assemblies and demonstrations, the media criticized the union for making "ridiculous and contradictory statements" about the administration's reform efforts. Union members, believing they were acting in defiance of the public assembly ban, continued to hold mass rallies and issue calls for action by the government. Despite the ambiguous status of the Mongolian Democratic Union, the government and party were propelling the nation toward further reform and openness in the 1990s.

Early Democracy and a New Constitution in Mongolia

Mongolia is the home of Central Asia’s only multi-party democracy. After the MPRP renounced power it won in the elections in July 1990. The constitution was revised to give Mongolians greater political and individual freedom, including the rights of free speech, religion and assembly In January 1992, the Mongolian parliament ratified a constitution that included separation of power among the executive, judicial and legislative branches.

The Soviet military pulled out of Mongolia in 1992. For the first time in 400 years Mongolia was neither a Chinese colony or a Soviet satellite. Once banned figures like Genghis Khan were resurrected. Now his face is everywhere: on bottles of beer, in offices of bureaucrats, on the currency. After a statue of Stalin was removed, peasant sprinkled milk on it to "prevent his angry evil spirit from returning to haunt them." A statue of Lenin still stands outside the Red Hero Hotel.

In parliament elections in June, 1992, the MPRP, won by a large margin. It won 70 of 76 seats and 57 percent of the popular vote. Voter turnout was 95.6 percent. The opposition did respectably well in the cities but was hammered in the countryside. There were some allegations of vote rigging. The cabinet was formed by the prime minister in August 1992.

Presidential elections were held in the summer of 1993. The harsh transition from Communism caused the ruling party to drop reformist president, Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat, who joined the opposition and was reelected.

Rights and Freedoms in the Mongolian Constitution

Chapter Two of The Constitution of Mongolia reads: Article Fourteen l. All persons lawfully residing within Mongolia are equal before the law and the Court. 2) No person shall be discriminated against on the basis of ethnic origin, language, race, age, sex, social origin and status, property, occupation and position, religion, opinion and education. Every one shall be a person before the law. Article Fifteen 1) The grounds and procedure for Mongolian nationality, acquisition or loss of citizenship shall be determined only by law. 2) Deprivation of Mongolian citizenship, exile and extradition of citizens of Mongolia shall be prohibited.

Article Sixteen The citizens of Mongolia are guaranteed to enjoy the following rights and freedoms: 1) the right to life. Deprivation of human life shall be strictly prohibited unless capital punishment is imposed by due judgment of the Court for the most serious crimes, pursuant to Mongolian Criminal law. 2) the right to a healthy and safe environment, and to be protected against environmental pollution and ecological imbalance. 3) the right to fair acquisition, possession, ownership and inheritance of movable and immovable property. Illegal confiscation and requisitioning of the private property of citizens shall be prohibited. If the State and its bodies appropriate private property on the basis of exclusive public need, they shall do so with due compensation and payment. 4) the right to free choice of employment, favorable conditions of work, remuneration, rest and private farming. No one shall be subjected to forced labor. 5) the right to material and financial assistance in old age, disability, childbirth and childcare and in other circumstances as provided by law.

6) the right to the protection of health and medical care. The procedure and conditions of free medical aid shall be determined by law. 7) the right to education. The state shall provide basic general education free of charge; Citizens may establish and operate private schools if these meet the requirements of the State. 8) the right to engage in creative work in cultural, artistic and scientific fields and to benefit thereof. Copyrights and patents shall be protected by law. 9) the right to take part in the conduct of State affairs directly or through representative bodies. The right to elect and to be elected to State bodies. The right to elect shall be enjoyed from the age of eighteen years and the age of eligibility for being elected shall be determined by law according to the requirements in respect of the bodies or positions concerned. 10) the right to form a party or other mass organization and freedom of association to these organizations on the basis of social and personal interests and opinion. All political parties and other mass organizations shall uphold public order and state security, and abide by law. Discrimination and persecution of a person for joining a political party or other mass organization or for being their member shall be prohibited. Party membership of some categories of state employees may be suspended. 11) men and women shall enjoy equal rights in political, economic, social, cultural fields and in family relationship. Marriage shall be based on the equality and mutual consent of the spouses who have reached the age determined by law. The State shall protect the interests of the family, motherhood and the child. 12) the right to submit a petition or a complaint to State bodies and officials. The State bodies and officials shall be obliged to respond to the petitions or complaints of citizens in conformity with law.

13) the right to personal liberty and safety. No one shall be searched, arrested, detained, persecuted or restricted of liberty except in accordance with procedures and grounds determined by law. No person shall be subjected to torture, inhumane, cruel or degrading treatment. Where a person is arrested his/her family and counsel shall be notified within a period of time established by law of the reasons for and grounds of the arrest. The privacy of citizens, their families, correspondence and homes shall be protected by law. 14) the right to appeal to the court to protect his/her rights if he/she considers that the rights or freedoms as spelt out by the Mongolian law or an international treaty have been violated; to be compensated for the damage illegally caused by others; not to testify against himself/herself, his/her family, or parents and children; to self-defense; to receive legal assistance; to have evidence examined; to fair trial; to be tried in his/her presence; to appeal against a court decision, to seek pardon. Compelling to testify against himself/ herself shall be prohibited. Every person shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a court by due process of law. The penalties imposed on the convicted shall not be applicable to his/her family members and relatives.

15) freedom of conscience and religion. 16) freedom of thought, opinion and expression, speech, press, peaceful assembly. Procedures for organizing demonstrations and other assemblies shall be determined by law. 17) the right to seek and receive information except that which the state and its bodies are legally bound to protect as secret. In order to protect human rights, dignity and reputation of persons and to ensure State defense, national security and public order secrets of the State, organization or individuals, which are not subject to disclosure shall be determined and protected by law. l8) the right to freedom of movement and residence within the country, right to travel and reside abroad and to return to their home country. The right to travel and reside abroad may be limited exclusively by law in order to ensure national security and the security of the population and protect public order.

Town Hall Meeting, Mongolian-Style

Peter Hessler wrote in The New Yorker, “After Bagabandi finished speaking, he opened the town meeting to questions. An old man in a fur cap stepped up to a microphone. “My talk will be mixed with criticism and suggestions,” he began. “I wish you success on the campaign. But I want to tell you that last year was very hard for us, and over the past two years the size of our herds has decreased dramatically. How can we live now? Some herdsmen are saying we shouldn’t have animals, because this life is no longer appropriate for us. People are giving up.” [Source: Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, July 16, 2001 ~~]

“He said that his pension of fifteen dollars a month wasn’t adequate, and that he had had problems with theft. The President tried to answer, but the old man wouldn’t stop. He complained that political power in the new Mongolia changed hands too frequently, and he criticized smear campaigning. The crowd was so attentive that I could hear the flakes of snow tapping against the windows. ~~

“During my time in Mongolia, I attended more than half a dozen of these town meetings, and it was always the silence that impressed me the most. Sometimes the meetings dragged on for three or four hours, but still the people listened. Herdsmen rely heavily on shortwave radio for the limited information they receive, and foreign-aid workers told me that the Mongolians have a remarkable capacity for retaining what they hear. “But the Mongolians are also not particularly experienced in analyzing the quality of the information,” a British woman who had distributed information about health care told me. “They’re a little vulnerable.” ~~

“There wasn’t any sign of fear among the herdsmen, who often challenged the candidates, sometimes aggressively. I attended one meeting at which a man openly accused the Democratic candidate of being a liar. Usually, though, the people were respectful, and there was a purity and an intimacy to these exchanges—a politician and a group of voters meeting in the middle of nowhere. ~~

“In Züünbayan-Ulaan, Bagabandi and his ministers answered the old man’s questions carefully. The President gave the statistics for nationwide dzud losses, and said that he was working to get more assistance to this region. Then he passed the mike to the local member of parliament, who talked about problems with crime. The old herdsman stood up again and interrupted him twice. After that, the mike went to the Minister of Nature and Environment, who talked about the need to reduce the national debt, and then he passed the mike to the provincial governor, who gave details on World Bank loans that would provide dzud assistance. ~~

“After the President headed off to the helicopter, the old man was one of the last to leave the hall. I stopped him outside. He was seventy-seven, and his name was Legtseg. The decades of cold had left a red web of tiny capillaries on his face. He smiled and answered my questions eagerly. Legtseg was not a member of any political party, and last winter he had lost eight of his seventeen cows and sheep. He said that he didn’t know anything about the World Bank. I asked him if the politicians’ answers had satisfied him.”No,” he said. “They didn’t answer straight on. I will vote for Gonchigdorj, because I support the Democrats and I support democracy. We have been under the influence of our two neighbors for many years, but now we are open to the rest of the world, so I believe that democracy is the only path for Mongolia.” ~~

Mongolia Struggles with Democracy and Change

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Ulaanbaatar was the site of repeated protests over poverty, corruption and complaints about land reform. Mongolia is still one of the poorest countries in Asia. Most Mongolians get by on the equivalent of a few hundred dollars a year. Many are traditional sheep and cattle herders on the vast Mongolian steppe. In the past this vast nation was often slow to change. But in the last few decades there has been massive upheaval. Some have fared well, but many, like the nomads and the poor are struggling to catch up. Turning this ancient country into a modern one is a huge task and, despite nearly two decades of reform, Mongolia still has a long way to go.

In 2007, Daniel Griffiths of the BBC News wrote: “Democracy has not brought the better life that many people hoped for. There is growing anger over the gap between rich and poor The communists did not disappear - the old revolutionary leader Sukhbataar still presides over the main square - and many of them are now in the current government building a new future for the country. Only now the talk is of money not Marx. Mongolia's economy grew by around 6 percent in 2006 and some people are doing very well. [Source: Daniel Griffiths, BBC News, January 11, 2007 ***]

“At a building site in the centre of town I meet Tsendee. He started his construction company with just 10 employees. Now he has got 400 workers on the payroll. "Since Mongolia became a democracy and a market economy, many businesses like mine have done very well," he tells me. "For me this has meant a huge change. I can afford to do anything... life is great." ***

“But despite these changes, between one third and one half of the country lives in poverty, according to government statistics. Many of them end up in the vast shanty towns on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, surviving on just a few dollars a day. One of those is Byambasuren whose husband was an alcoholic who used to beat her. In the end she threw him out and now she is bringing up her three children on her own in a tiny hut with no glass, just plastic sheeting, in the window frames. "Our life was good during communism but capitalism has left us with nothing," she tells me. "The government has done nothing to help us and nobody cares." ***

“High on the grasslands of Mongolia it does not seem as though much has changed in hundreds of years. The vast steppe still rolls on forever until blue sky and yellow earth become one. The nomads, astride their small fast ponies, still herd their animals from summer to winter pastures, following in the footsteps of their ancestors.” ***

The population has become increasingly urbanized, with 60 percent of the population living in towns (40 percent in the capital alone).“Once half of Mongolia's 2.8 million population lived this way, but now things are changing rapidly. Sharhuu has spent his entire life on the grasslands. Now in his sixties, his face weathered from years spent on the steppe, he is thinking the unthinkable - giving up the old ways forever. "My family can help me for now," he says, but, "I know that can't live this way for much longer." ***

“And he is not alone. A series of long tough winters have hit the nomads hard, destroying livestock and leaving many here with nothing. There is little good grazing land for the animals that are left. And since the end of communism in the early 1990s, and Mongolia's move to a market economy, there has not been much help from the government. Like many nomads, Sharhuu has little option but to move to the cities...The government say it is doing more to help fight poverty. But many claim it is not enough and in Ulaanbaatar anger is growing about the gap between rich and poor. Protests in the main square are now a daily occurrence.” ***

Views by Ordinary Mongolians About Democracy

Peter Hessler wrote in The New Yorker, “I began to wonder what the average Mongolian actually felt about democracy. Sumati’s polls had shown that, nationwide, eighty-seven per cent thought the 1990 shift to democracy was the right step for the country, and fifty-two per cent had expressed satisfaction with the present political system. But among older Mongolians there was still a strong sentimentality for the Soviet past, when incomes were secure and the old MPRP made all the decisions. [Source: Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, July 16, 2001 ~~]

“At rallies, I met many people who seemed disillusioned with their country’s changes. “Since democracy came, people have just become poorer,” one woman told me at an MPRP rally in Zuunmod, south of Ulaanbaatar. “I think if there’s just one party ruling it will be better.” She was fifty-two years old, trying to survive with a herd of eight cows, and she struck me as a paradoxical creation of the post-Communist world—someone who longed for the clarity of old authoritarianism while relishing her new freedom of speech. She said that last spring she had become so fed up with the coalition government that she had organized a protest of a hundred and eight herdsmen. They had tried to ride fifty miles to the national parliament building but had been stopped by the police before they reached the center of Ulaanbaatar. Still, she was enormously pleased that the newspapers had reported the protest. ~~

View by a Political Expert on Mongolian Democracy

Peter Hessler wrote in The New Yorker, Three days after the election, I had dinner with Sumati...Voter turnout had been eighty-three per cent. An estimated million dollars had been spent on the campaigns.“If you look at how much money was spent and how much mud was thrown in both directions, it must be frustrating for our politicians,” Sumati said, with a smile, as he sipped his Genghis beer. [Source: Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, July 16, 2001 ~~]

“For the first time, Sumati talked in detail about his background. His Mongolian grandfather had been an official in the pre-Communist government, and after the revolution he had been arrested on the trumped-up charge that he was a Japanese spy. Sumati’s father, who was five at the time, accompanied his father to prison, because children were allowed to come and go in order to get food. When he grew older, he became a hardline Communist and a director of the Mongolian Institute of Languages. As an old man in the nineteen-eighties, Sumati’s father had organized a Party election with opposition candidates, without the permission of his superiors; he was eventually purged from the Party. In self-imposed exile, he went to Moscow, where he worked on a Mongolian-Russian dictionary, which he never completed. He had left Ulaanbaatar in 1990, before the democratic movement gained power. He died in 1997. ~~

”He was gone for all these changes,” Sumati said. “And, despite being thrown out of the Communist Party, he still believed in its ideas.” He went on, “Just the other day, I talked with a friend who had been at the academy with me. He remembered that a K.G.B. agent had talked to him about me. The agent said, ‘This guy Sumati has no chance of success, because he is under special surveillance.’ ” It was one of those stories, heard often in post-authoritarian countries, that move quickly in the telling. Suddenly, I understood where all those layers of cynicism had come from, and I sensed that Sumati was finally going to express his gratitude for democracy. ~~

”That’s why I really enjoy this time,” he said. “I do what I like, and I don’t care what these stupid assholes say. Some of the people who used to denounce me even became leaders of the democratic movement. I know for certain that at least two of them became leaders of the Democratic Party. I will never become a member of any political party.”He took another drink of his beer, and I glanced at his left index finger. It was clean. ~~

”Did you vote?” I asked. He put the beer down and then, sounding like the millions of Americans who had decided to stay home on Election Day last November, he said, “At the start, I thought I would vote for Gonchigdorj. But then I thought, I know how this election will end, so why should I vote? It’s a waste of my time.” ~~

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated April 2016


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