Ulaanbaatar [Mongolia’s parliamentary election amid COVID-19 pandemic]

Nationwide polls close after Mongolians voted since 7 AM until 10 PM of June 24, to elect a new parliament. Some 606 candidates, including 121 independent candidates competed for 76 seats in the unicameral parliament of Mongolia – State Great Hural with a four-year term.

As reported by the General Election Commission, voter turnout has already exceeded 50 percent by 5 PM today. Counting process has started countrywide at the same time of the end of the polls and is currently underway at all polling stations. Final voter turnout and preliminary results of the 8th parliamentary election are expected to be announced shortly.

With a view to prevent from the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, 2070 polling stations across the nation worked under special regime for health safety, being equipped with single-use disposable plastic gloves and face masks, disinfecting voting places, maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters from each other and checking the voters’ body temperatures and sanitizing voters’ hands before they enter the stations. Also, voters were not allowed to bring their children aged under 18 years old when they arrive to cast their ballots. In the capital city alone, 451 inspectors worked at polling stations to make sure that health safety and sanitation rules were maintained.

Mostly because of the aforementioned safety measures, voters at some polling stations faced lengthier lines and wait times compared to previous elections of the country. In addition, today’s heavy rainfalls caused localized flooding, particularly in rural areas, and some voters had to walk across the river with help from emergency officers to reach to their polling stations as vehicles were unable to cross the flooded river.

Another special aspect of this election is that due to the plurality-at-large or block voting system, which was also used in the country’s general elections of 1992 and 2008, Mongolian citizens living abroad could not vote. Also, to prevent coronavirus outbreaks, Mongolians, who had recently arrived from abroad and are staying under compulsory hospital or home isolation for 5 weeks in total as a precautionary measure, as well as healthcare workers who are taking care of them were not allowed to vote. The Health Ministry yesterday, informed that there were 2,274 people are under precautionary isolation (115 of them are aged 0-5) and 168 healthcare workers caring for them nationwide.

Since Mongolia adopted its first democratic Constitution in 1992, the country is holding its eighth legislation election. The first parliamentary election held in 1992 had the highest turnout in the democratic history of Mongolia at 95.6 percent of all eligible voters, which were counted at around 1 million out of the total population of 2.1 million at that time.

For the 2020 legislative election of Mongolia with 3.2 million populations, there were 2 million 624 eligible voters, with 961,971 or 48 percent of them – male and 1,038,653 or 52 percent – female.

Ulaanbaatar /24 June 2020/

source: www.montsame.mn


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