Mongolian President Leads Rivals in Re-Election Bid, Poll Shows

President Tsakhia Elbegdorj leads his nearest rival by 13 percentage points heading into June 26 elections, according to a new poll, making it unlikely that he’ll face a serious challenge as he seeks a second term.

Asked whom they would choose as president, 19.2 percent of respondents named Elbegdorj, the Sant Maral Foundation poll said. In second with 6.2 percent was Nambar Enkhbayar, the opposition leader serving a two-and-a-half-year jail term on corruption charges. No one else received more than 3.2 percent.

A win for Elbegdorj, president since 2009, may ensure continuity as Mongolian leaders debate the role of foreign investors in exploiting the country’s mineral resources. While Elbegdorj has made conflicting statements on whether the government should take greater control of strategic mines, he’s seen as a known quantity, consultant Dale Choi said.

“Elbegdorj has shown himself to be very inconsistent,” Choi, founder of Ulaanbaatar-based Independent Mongolian Metals and Mining Research, said in an e-mail. “Even in view of these shortcomings, it would be good if he were re-elected because it would mean the government authorities can continue functioning as they are.”

The poll by Ulaanbaatar-based Sant Maral was conducted between April 5 and April 21 and had 2,000 respondents. It didn’t give a margin of error.

Elbegdorj’s Democratic Party took control of the government last year after defeating the Mongolian People’s Party in parliamentary elections.

Democrat Control

The Democrats now hold the positions of president, prime minister, parliament speaker and mayor of Ulaanbaatar. The poll said 53.2 percent of respondents were fairly satisfied or very satisfied with the current government.

“Elbegdorj has no rival and it will be quite problematic for anyone to stand against him in the time remaining,” Sant Maral Foundation Director Luvsandendev Sumati said. “If he does not make some major mistake he should get through.”

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