Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy in Mongolia

On December 10, 1989, a group of 300 young Mongolians came together and announced the birth of the Mongolian Democratic Union (MDU), the first political force to challenge the Communist single-party system in the country. At the same meeting, the newly-formed MDU voiced the demands of the Mongolian people for the Communist regime to cede power, allow a democratic multi-party system of government, grant civil rights to citizens and enforce freedom of the press in the country. Throughout the past 25 years, the democratic revolution transformed Mongolia from a closed society ruled by a repressive single-party Communist system into a free and open society that functions as a dynamic multi-party democracy. At the same time, Mongolia and its citizens have opened up to the international community, gaining access to travel freely around the world, opening their markets to foreign investment and expanding independent foreign policy and multilateral cooperation. The International Republican Institute is proud to have played a small role in helping the Mongolian people achieve their goal of a more democratic, open and transparent country.

1989-12-10 00:00:00

Mongolian Democratic Union Holds its First Rally

On the morning of December 10, the first open pro-democracy demonstration occurs in front of the Youth Cultural Center in Ulaanbaatar where 300 people gather to demand a more democratic government. The Mongolian Democratic Union (MDU) sends a petition to the Central Committee of the ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party and to the Great Hural, the country’s parliament. In the petition, the MDU make 13 requests, including constitutional reform to allow opposition political parties and the recognition of human rights in accordance to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including guaranteed freedom of the press. The MDU also demands that free and fair elections take place within six months.

1989-12-17 00:00:00

S. Zorig Elected as a Leader of the Mongolian Democratic Union

A second rally of the Mongolian Democratic Union is held in front of the Theater of Opera and Dance. Support for the democratic cause grows with approximately 2,000 people in attendance. Speakers reiterate the demands presented to the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party’s Central Committee and also express the need to ensure the process remained peaceful. Participants include young artists and writers, journalists, painters and architects – who agree, after several discussions, to elect S. Zorig as one of the movement’s leaders.

1990-02-24 00:00:00

First Meeting of Democratic Groups

On February 6, 1990, the Mongolian Students Union tears down a statue of Joseph Stalin in front of the main library after amassing a crowd of more than 1,400 people. Representing the first step towards creating a coalition of democratic forces, the Mongolian Democratic Union, the Democratic Socialist Movement, the New Progressive Union and the Mongolian Students Union meet at the National University of Mongolia. This new coalition names themself the Four Forces.

1990-03-04 00:00:00

Rally of the Four Forces

The rally of the Four Forces is held at Victory Square in front of the Lenin Museum with an estimated 100,000 participants, significant in size considering that Ulaanbaatar has approximately 800,000 residents in 1990. Demonstrators demand the separation of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party from the state and the formation of a People’s Temporary Hural (interim parliament) with the participation of all political forces.

1990-03-09 00:00:00

Resignation of the Politburo

Continuing to apply pressure on the government to acquiesce to the demands of the Four Forces, ten members of Mongolian Democratic Union begin a hunger strike at Sukhbaatar Square on March 7, 1990. Twenty-three additional protesters join the strike. On the morning of March 9, the Politburo announces its resignation, effectively ending the hunger strike protest and setting the stage for multi-party elections in July.

1990-04-07 00:00:00

First Independent Press

The independent newspaper Ardchilal (Democracy) distributes 100,000 copies of its first edition, marking the emergence of independent press in Mongolia. Other independent newspapers including Ug (The Word), Undesnii Devshil (National Progress) and Shine Toli (The New Mirror) soon follow.

1990-07-29 00:00:00

Mongolia’s First Democratic Elections

On July 29th, 1990, Mongolia holds its first democratic parliamentary elections. The first democratically elected People’s Great Hural (parliament) takes office on September 3, 1990, with the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party maintaining its ruling status after winning a majority 31 seats. The Democratic Party picks up 13 seats, and both the Democratic Socialist Party and National Democratic Party gain three seats.

1991-03-01 00:00:00

IRI begins its Support for Mongolia’s Transition to Democracy

IRI staff and political transition experts visit Mongolia to discuss support for the country’s democratic transition, consulting with nascent political parties, civil society activists and journalists. The Institute begins its work supporting a competitive and democratic multi-party system, the new parliament, the role of women and youth in politics, and helping Mongolians implement electoral reforms.

1992-01-13 00:00:00

Mongolians Adopt a New Democratic Constitution

Following the 1990 revolution, Mongolia began work on developing a new democratic constitution. Nearly two years later, it was adopted by parliament, guaranteeing freedom of travel, expression, religion and other unalienable rights.

1992-02-12 00:00:00

The New Democratic Constitution Goes into Effect

The Constitution of Mongolia, adopted on January 13, 1992, becomes the law of the land. It is modeled on many Western constitutions and guarantees Mongolians freedom of press, inalienable rights, freedom of religion and the right to vote.

1996-02-14 19:40:57

Opposition Democratic Parties Signing Coalition Agreement

Beginning in 1995, IRI focused on preparing the loosely-affiliated democratic parties for the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for June 30, 1996, by holding joint workshops. Through IRI’s work, the parties produce draft platforms based on the top issues to each parties’ constituents and supporters. Realizing their platforms are nearly identical, the Mongolian National Democratic Party and the Mongolian Social Democratic Party form the Democratic Union Coalition on February 14 with IRI support.

1996-03-01 00:00:00

IRI Helps the General Election Commission Prepare for Parliamentary Elections

In early 1996, IRI supports a ballot security initiative that provides ballot box seals to the General Election Commission (GEC). IRI also facilitates an election monitoring program intended to train Mongolian election monitors who would be stationed at each of the 1,500 polling stations during the June 1996 parliamentary elections. Additionally, IRI develops the official election monitoring handbook with the GEC which outlines election monitors’ rights, regulations and responsibilities.

1996-06-30 00:00:00

Democratic Opposition Wins the Elections

Mongolians go to the polls and elect the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC) over the ruling Communist party. The DUC, which consists of the Mongolian National Democratic Party and the Mongolian Social Democratic Party, win 50 of the 76 seats in the State Great Hural. This sets up the country’s first peaceful transfer of power between political parties.

1998-10-02 00:00:00

Prominent Democratic Activist and Politician, S. Zorig is Assassinated

S. Zorig, a leader of the democratic movement, is assassinated in his apartment by unknown assailants. In response, thousands of mourners gathered in Sukhbaatar Square to hold a candlelight vigil.

2005-11-01 00:00:00

First Lady Laura Bush meets with Mongolian women leaders

During her visit to Mongolia in 2005, First Lady Laura Bush, meets with the leaders of the Women’s Partnership in Politics and Governance Forum. The Women’s Partnership in Politics and Governance Forum works in Mongolia to encourage women’s participation in the political process.

2008-06-29 00:00:00

IRI conducts Mongolia Parliamentary Election Observation Mission

Despite the politically-instigated violence in Ulaanbaatar which claimed five lives and caused substantial property damage, the 2008 Parliamentary Election is a largely peaceful, transparent and successful open election. The mood of both the general public and the political contestants is increasingly positive and helped to further legitimize the cementation of democracy in Mongolia

2011-10-01 00:00:00

IRI begins its Work with Newly-Elected Local Officials

In cooperation with the State Great Hural Parliamentary Standing Committee on State Structure and the Mongolian Academy of Management, IRI begins working with local councils (hurals) on how to govern democratically. IRI’s handbook, How do Citizen Representative Hurals Work: Roles/Responsibilities of their Members, is a key primer that covers the rights and responsibilities of local officials, local government structures, including the division of authority between central and sub-national governments, as well as relevant laws and regulations. Copies of the manual are distributed to the more than 300 hurals.

2012-06-28 00:00:00

Women’s Parliamentary Caucus is Established with IRI Support

With the support from IRI’s Women’s Democracy Network, women parliamentarians form the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. In addition to serving as individual and collective role models for aspiring women politicians, the caucus will propose, debate and facilitate the passage of key pieces of legislation, including laws that strengthen protections from domestic violence, as well as important legislation mandating that 30 percent of candidates on political parties’ electoral lists be women.

2013-04-27 00:00:00

Mongolia Leads the Community of Democracies

Recognizing the country’s democratic transition, Mongolia takes over the presidency of the Community of Democracies (CoD) in 2011. Upon successfully chairing the CoD for two years, Mongolia hosts the seventh ministerial meeting in Ulaanbaatar on April 27-29.  The biennial meeting represents the world’s premier global gathering devoted to strengthening democracy and civil society.  In attendance are representatives from 110 countries including representatives of governments, parliaments and civil society organizations.  The ministerial conference examines how to support democratic transitions and strengthen democracy worldwide. 

2014-10-06 00:00:00

Ulaanbaatar Declaration Against Corruption is Signed

Working with Mayor E. Bat-Uul, the capital city governor and mayor of Ulaanbaatar, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), IRI hosts the Transparent Ulaanbaatar 2014 Forum on Anti-Corruption. The event brings together more than 250 guests representing government, civil society, business community and academia from 16 countries and all 21 provinces of Mongolia. At the forum, Mayor Bat-Uul signs the Ulaanbaatar Declaration Against Corruption, which leads to a joint partnership with IRI to develop initiatives that increase municipal transparency and accountability and provide more opportunities for citizen oversight.

2015-03-08 00:00:00

Oyun Sanjaasuren Awarded the 2015 Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award

Oyun Sanjaasuren, a member of Mongolia's Parliament, is honored with the 2015 Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award for her outstanding contributions to the advancement of women in politics and civil society in Mongolia. MP Sanjaasuren was first elected to the Mongolian Parliament in 1998 and is serving her fifth term in office.  As a member of the Parliament’s Women’s Caucus, Sanjaasuren works with her colleagues, representing five different political parties, to address critical issues facing Mongolia including health, education and environmental policies.  She also heads the Zorig Foundation, known for its work advancing democracy, good governance, education and community development. 

2015-05-20 21:21:17

Mongolia’s Embassy Celebrates the 25 Years of Democracy with Members of Congress

Marking a historic milestone in modern Mongolian history, the Embassy of Mongolia and the Mongolia Society host a celebration on Capitol Hill. IRI chairman, Senator John McCain, and IRI president, Ambassador Mark Green, join the celebration.

2015-07-29 00:00:00

Mongolia Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its Transition to Democracy

Recognizing the progress made in achieving the goals laid out by the Four Forces in 1990, Mongolia and Mongolians will come together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their democratic success.

Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy in Mongolia

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