Graft protests oust Mongolian speaker

31 Jan 19

Mongolia’s parliamentary speaker has been forced to quit amid corruption allegations after weeks of public protests.

Enkhbold Myegombo had initially refused to resign but stood down after parliament voted on Tuesday to force him out, Reuters reported.

The move comes after tens of thousands of people began demonstrating in December over accusations Enkhbold was involved in the corrupt sale of government positions.

Public protests against the speaker and the country’s two main political parties, the Mongolian People’s Party and Democratic Party, continued throughout January.

Protesters even staged hunger strikes on Ulaanbaatar’s central Sukhbaatar Square and on 10 January a cross-party group of legislators boycotted parliament to pile pressure on the speaker.

Audio recordings released by a whistleblower in 2016 were believed to implicate a number of politicians in a scheme to raise 60 billion tugrik ($22m) in campaign funds.

Elections that year were won by Enkhbold’s Mongolian People’s Party.

The role of foreign investment in Mongolia has also come under scrutiny, with some politicians alleging that strategic resources have been sold off to multinational corporations on the cheap.

The Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine run by Anglo-Australian giant Rio Tinto is at the centre of a corruption investigation involving a former finance minister.

Members of parliament announced on Monday they had formed a group to fight graft and nationalise mines.

Enkhbold has denied wrongdoing and has complained that the way he was dismissed undermines parliamentary democracy.

“I was not playing tricks to save my position, I believed this problem should be solved legally,” Enkhbold said.

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