The office of the President of Mongolia, Public Relations & Communications Division



Speech by President of Mongolia
Tsakhia Elbegdorj at the Opening of the
2010 Spring Session of the State Great Khural

My dear fellow citizens,

Mr. Chairman of the State Great Khural,
Mr. Prime Minister,
Honorable Members of the State Great Khural,
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Every opening of regular sessions of the State Great Khural creates certain expectations in our country’s political and social life. Clearly, a lot is expected from the opening and the work of this spring session of the State Great Khural as well.

In the past two decades the people of Mongolia have implemented the historic transition of our society and have gone through an uneasy path. We have had both achievements and failures on this path. Having made a mistake, we did not conceal it, and having made and achievement, we didn’t stay complacent.

We Mongolians chose the most complicated path of transition. And these changes and reforms took place concurrently in politics, in the economy, in the society, in individual peoples lives and in our minds. All has felt the toughness of the choice we made. None of us was ready for this historic change. Neither had we had experience. Because, none of us had gone this road before.

There are countries which chose easy ways but which start experiencing the difficulties now.
Similarly, there are ones who having chosen hard paths are nearing the fruits of their perspiration. Joy waits at the end of a hard road, goes a saying, which means that success and achievements consolidate after withstanding hardships and challenges, whereas easy choices lead to hard and difficult situations. Today we are challenged with a choice, requiring utmost wisdom, whether we can harness and foster the results of our hard-earned transition.

If issues are effectively resolved at due levels and instances, the benefits are enjoyed by the people, if they remain unresolved, the situation further aggravates. Lately the word “revolution” has come to be pronounced more often – say, “social revolution” as some utter. Mongolians have had the revolution in our society we had to have. Basic individual rights, liberties have come to be commonly respected. Yet, a lot remains to be accomplished. Complications arise because the revolution hasn’t fully won the minds and attitudes of each single person, each single organization. Because due reforms slow down where they should take place, the talks and utterances about social revolution are provoked. Propositions are being made to make changes in the Constitution. A Working Group comprising of Members of the State Great Khural, scholars and academics has been set up and is working on how to regulate the issue of introducing some changes to the Constitution if such need arises.

First and foremost, people demand accountability from those in the government. Equal application of law. Justice. This is a wide concept, yet, within the very organizations that have to enforce this principle, the principle is stranded. This is where revolution, real changes can’t get through, and the real oligarchic interests, the hidden interests to conceal amoral and unlawful deeds have been nested for years.

This frustrates people. And it damages the reputation of the state. It further feeds irresponsibility and injustice. Accountability is to be enforced by the institutions ought to do so for those who are unaccountable, irresponsible, and accountability is to be enforced at every instance it occurs. If this cannot be achieved, the very supreme institution is to be held accountable.

As the Head of State, I have been demanding accountability from some state officials. For instance, I have already demanded the General Prosecutor to resign from the post by submitting a letter of resignation by law. The people of Mongolia did make their choice in the past election to reform, to change the society to eliminate injustice prevalent in the society. President of the country, State Great Khural, the Government – all have to implement this choice without any foreword.

Another principal proposition that I set forward is transferring the authority, the power to the people, to local governments. We do not need much commentary here. We need concrete solutions. Basic human rights must be secured at local levels. The country’s wealth must be created in local areas, and the local people have to reap the fruits of being the creators of wealth.

Our local governments do not have human resources power. They lack any power, any right to appoint an official and enforce accountability. Plus, local governments do not have fiscal authority. They are not motivated to create wealth locally and to save and economize locally. Opposite, they are allotted more if they spend more. Our country will not develop this way and the people’s lives won’t be any better this way. Therefore, we must empower the local governments so that they can make appointments, replace and recruit cadre and enforce accountability. Local governments must be given the authority to manage their budgets, create wealth and accumulate savings through certain taxes and fees and dispose their funds. This is not empowering local officials, but is a step to ensure that our people are given the rights they are entitled to enjoy. In this way, we are enabling our people to ask for and demand accountability and responsibility from their immediate government.

It is never too much power to transfer to local governments. Powers must be transferred comprehensively to make Mongolia live and work like any country is ought to live and work – public/government’s services shall reach the citizens. Responsibilities shall become real and concrete, and shall heighten at each level of public affairs. If this is not achieved, we shall never end people’s asking from the Parliament what to do about the problems of every single head of goat we have in our country.

In conjunction with what was just said, I would like to touch upon another issue – public service. We need to reform the public service law to make the service compatible with modern requirements, and we need to liquidate the Public Service Council. The State should open its doors to those Mongolian citizens who want to serve the public, we must offer them wider opportunities. We must reform the criteria for public service as well.
Civil service examinations can be administered by independent, public or private institutions. We must simply maintain the examination scores and grades open. The decision to choose to employ a capable citizen who has met the criteria for the public service must simply be made by the public organization, public official of the corresponding level. Let’s make this change at all levels of public service. The time has come for us to abide by such civil practices and standards.

To comprehensively resolve the issues in our public service, we need to address the issue of political parties in our circumstances. For Mongolia, a country with a small population, the divide where even members of one family belong to different parties is way too excessive. The time is right when political parties have no membership. For a political party, it would suffice to have the registered list of supporters expressing to participate in election, the party’s values and principles, a platform to implement, finance and a lean structure to implement the party’s goals. Adopting and implementing such a law would be consistent with the interests of the public, political parties and parties’ members and supporters.

Once we talk about political parties, election also comes into discussion. Especially the talks about the Parliamentary Election Law are hot at this moment. Our lawmakers do have every chance to produce a decent election law in the aftermath of lessons learnt from past elections. Solutions are already ready to cover for positive and negative sides of the major forms of parliamentary elections. It is vital to effectively combine the forms of parties’ making name lists, people’s voting and assessing the voting. There are also solutions and technologies available for preventing fraud, suspicions and complaints at voter registration, voting and counting stages. Since I started speaking on the issue, I will speak straightforwardly. As the President of the country I do not support the option of 76 constituencies whereby the country is territorially divided, is divided into tiny pieces by the number of citizens and which nurtures populism, fraud and monetary manipulations.

Once I touched upon election, I will state my position on election promises. This spring I worked in a number of aimags and soums and met many citizens. At those meetings the cash promises of the “Share of Treasure” and “Grace of Nation” 1-1.5 million MNT by the Democratic Party and the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party were addressed on many occasions, among many other issues raised.

Mongolia has chosen and been implementing a democratic system whereby the elected in state election officials work to implement their election promises, and in case they fail to deliver their promises, they are evaluated by the people in the next election. This is a common achievement of the Mongolian people won through hard work. This is what makes Mongolia different in the region, this is our advantage as well. This historic choice of the Mongolian people should further be unshatteredly maintained and consolidated.

The Government and the political parties constituting the Government have been making concrete efforts, initiatives and ideas to implement their election promises. Some of these ideas have already been realized. Yet, people put forward more concrete demands. They want to know when and how the election promises are going to be delivered.

Not much time is left for the Coalition Government to work productively and with least division – it commands only the remaining months of 2010 and one non-election year of 2011. The parliament and the Government can achieve many good solutions in this remaining period. Therefore, let’s be optimistic, constructive and creative.

Without too much narration, let’s give a clear-cut answer to our people’s question “when” – let’s set the term for the delivery of the promise as the year 2011 counting from today on. To answer the part “how”, we must come up with a solution consistent to our real potentials and considering all the associated risks. First of all, of the past 20 year’s social assistance policies, let’s restore the “Child Money”, a form of fair and optimal distribution of social wealth.

The promises to distribute share are designated for each and every citizen of Mongolia. Let’s provide the Child money to our children aged 0-16 years old. For our citizens beyond 16 years of age, let’s provide the promised share. As of 2011, each of our children should be receiving 20 thousand tugrugs per month. And to our citizens the promised share must be provided.

When distributing the share, we have to choose the forms beneficial for the citizens, for the country and for our future. A working group has been designated to work on the issue. The option proposed by the Government to finance our citizens’ health, education, insurance, housing financing expenditures, thus to provide for the Share of Treasure through Human Development sovereign fund could be more effective solution among the many alternatives that are being discussed today.

My dear people, the talks around election promises is not the only issue that waits for its solution, it is just one of the many issues we have to address. There are many other issues pending solution on the matters pertinent to consolidating the country’s security, sustainability and independence. The circumstances around any major or minor issue have greatly changed, incomparable with those existed 5, 10, 20 years ago. They are different from those existed a year ago. Naïve romanticism has lived off its way everywhere. Certain goals, interests and benefits are tied up behind every phenomenon taking place in the society. And it’s not a secret that every participant and interested party abide by very pragmatic tactics and strategies.

A major issue related to implementing and consolidating national security and rule of law is getting ready to be discussed at the National Security Council level. There are issues that are planned to be reported to the Parliament according to a certain order and resolved by the Parliament.

On the other hand, the executive branch organizations do not act openly, promptly and authoritatively enough on the issues pending solution, and fails to timely and objectively assess and respond to the emerging circumstances. Equally lacking are flexibility, perseverance and optimal organization on the part of state organizations to openly explain their positions on resolved issues and to encourage and promote positive, optimistic and creative atmosphere in the society.

We should not be oblivious of complications that may arise shortly. There is a danger of snow-water flood, dzud disaster consequences etc. We desperately need a new policy for our countryside. Air pollution in the capital city, smog problems should not evaporate into the air of a warmer season. This is our national tragedy with most serious consequences and corollaries.

Soon budget will be revised, fiscal framework statement shall be tabled. Those promises that I’ve reminded earlier and our major development projects should be given solutions this spring. Pensions and salary increases must also be discussed. Building new maternity homes, generating jobs, education are all on our immediate agenda for action. Prevention from earthquake and other dangers necessitate undelayed funding.

Honorable Members of the State Great Khural. I firmly believe in one virtue. That is - a person who made a mistake should rectify it. I believe in the possibility of correcting a mistake. Those who understand they did wrong can undo the wrong. Wrong is not undone by those who aspire power by criticizing. Opposite, this will lead to more dangers and detriments.

These are today’s decision makers who ought to play a special role in resolving the accumulated from the past issues and healing the problems. The current State Great Khural has a number of issues which it must resolve. I named but a few. Please rectify the mistake, which is obviously wrong how ever hard one tries to render it right. The issue of 76 billion tugrugs. Now you are used to casual utterances like “I have spent my billion in [this] or [that] way”. Please do not repeat this mistake in the new Budget Law and please secure provisions to prevent this. Also, what do you mean by “the money for the Member for initiating a law”?

The image and reputation of the democratic State of Mongolia, the choice of the Mongolian people are not better off, distinguished Members of Parliament, if your frivolous pursuit of money, flippant money populism is not put to an end. That “who would dare to tell me” – kind of attitude does not only feed irresponsible, vengeant, populist parts, but also leads to the mistrust of the people in the state, makes people ashamed of and frustrated by the State. You have become unable to talk, not speaking about the general public, but even to the government you formed, to control and monitor the budget and monetary policies you approve, plans and goals you endorse, and become unable to ask for accountability. Law makers just may not lose their legal and moral rights in this manner. I urge you, distinguished Members of the State Great Khural, to sense and beware of your repute, be sensible, perceptive, listen to those who speak to you, discern and be aware of your basic duties and responsibilities.

I also have a say for my fellow citizens. Also I have a message to our journalists and reporters who bear a special mission to promote trust, confidence, optimism in the society and who should emanate healthy, bright and constructive atmosphere. In our society to goods prevail over bads, there are more achievements than destruction. This is in fact the virtue of a free society. Free, creative and conscientious people create new things in every place they live competing with time. For this you don’t need a direction from any political ideology or a leader. It is the duty of a citizen, any intellectual leader to strive to create that bright, positive beginnings, contribute to creative efforts, and also see and deliver to others such constructive, creative, enabling, positive efforts and aspirations.

A free society does not advance without a positive force, optimistic beliefs, collective creativity. The times when those who paint everything black, who shout out extremist slogans, who in evil premonition menace others freedom look heroic are left behind. This cannot be Mongolia’s future or our alternative choice. I earlier reminded of the reality that our attitudes of a year ago, not speaking about those of the past century, are obsolete today.

We have all learned due lessons over the past period. The most unwanted mistakes were made. In a human society there are values, common, shared achievements, laws and rules that must be abided at all times. They must be abided by, they must be enforced. Generosity, mercy are the virtues that humans render to those erred and faulted, though here we have limits too. The State will listen to what the citizens say, warn about and criticize. The State shall work hard, creatively and constructively to resolve the issues we have. Also the State will perform its duty, by law, to end the acts of a person or groups of persons against social order and assault on rule of law.

The path we Mongols have chosen is not an easy one. There were times when Mongolia didn’t know Mongolia herself, not speaking about the world knowing Mongolia. Today numerous eyes look at Mongolia with trust and faith. Our success and achievements are set as models and examples. Mongolia has emerged visible in the eyes of much greater number of people through much greater number of interests then existed eight hundred years ago. Mongolia’s development and prosperity, the quality of life of Mongolian people have come to depend, first of all, on ourselves, the Mongolians.

Mongolia will develop by exploiting our wealth, by supporting each other, by keeping our integrity high, and by working hard. We will move forward if we rectify the mistakes and don’t repeat them. We have a promising future. Doubtlessly, Mongolia’s tomorrow will be better than our today. Our new generation, a generation of new values, educated, knowledgeable, visionary, smart and wise generation is growing. We must hand them a free and prosperous homeland.

I thank you for your attention.

April 5, 2010