history in the making

Today, Mongolia inaugurated its first non-former-Communist president. From news.mn:

Soon after taking the oath of office the newly elected President of Mongolia , Ts. Elbegdorj, gave a call for national unity, asserting that  he would “work to fulfill the trust of those who supported me, and also work to gain the trust of those who did not”. Addressing dignitaries, both Mongolian and foreign, assembled at the Great Hall of Government House, he thanked people for electing him, saying democratic responsibility assumes more importance in times of crisis. On his part, he said he would not be a leader who held office to serve his own personal interests, but would instead give all his energy to serve the great democratic citizenry of a great democratic country.

The historic choice of May 24 showed people wanted reform and change. Above all, they wanted fairness, as much as they wanted clean water and fresh air. A corrupt state system corrodes the nation and renders it powerless. “I want to tell everybody, ‘Stop corruption in state work right from this moment’,’ he said.

His priority would be reforming the judicial system, as the fundamental basis of a truly fair society was that everybody was equal before the law. Mongolia did not need foreign advice or help to achieve this. What it did need was, he said, unity among the people to work for a common purpose.

Turning to guests from abroad, Elbegdorj thanked them all for attending the ceremony and said Mongolia’s traditional foreign policy to have friendship with all nations would be pursued with a new vigor and thrust. Mongolia will continue to have special ties with its two neighbors, but will also seek to be an active member of the world community.

The ceremony went with clockwork precision. Elbegdorj took the oath at 12.06 p.m., knelt before the national flag, and then received the seal of office from his predecessor. He had been persuaded not to wear a business suit as he had wanted, but to stick to convention. He, however, shunned ostentation and while Enkhbayar wore the same deel of handmade silk from 1940 and a handmade hat with 32 cross stitches that he had done when he took office four years ago, the new President was in things more ordinary.

Interesting to note the mention of judicial reform – it is gaining a lot of momentum here as something that needs change.  One of OSF’s policy fellows is working on this same issue.


1 Response to “history in the making”

  1. 1 Dave June 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Things bode ill…I think the mining companies will pull out. Check out this excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article:

    Shares of Canada-based Ivanhoe fell 8.4% to $5.59 Wednesday after Bloomberg published an interview with Mongolia’s president elect, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, saying he wanted to change the proposed deal with Invanhoe and Rio Tinto PLC, under which the government would take an equity stake in the project.

    Mr. Elbegdorj, who was sworn in as president Thursday, suggested that instead of the government buying an equity stake, it should take 50% of the project’s profit.


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