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Parliament of Mongolia must ensure the right to vote of citizens living abroad

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The General Election Commission of Mongolia has decided to propose an amendment to the country’s election legislation. If the Parliament approves the proposal, Mongolian citizens living outside the country will be unable to participate in elections due to take place next year.

FORUM-ASIA urges the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia to ensure that the right to vote of Mongolian citizens living outside the country is respected during the parliamentary elections taking place in 2008. It also urges the Constitutional Court of Mongolia to declare unconstitutional the laws unduly granting powers to formulate election laws to the General Election Commission.

On 16 October 2007, the General Election Commission announced that it plans to propose to Parliament an amendment to the Law on Election of the State Great Khural. Specifically, it is proposing the abolition of Article 6.3, based on the rationale that it is impossible to organise the registration of voters in other countries and to arrange polling stations abroad in advance of the coming election, due to a lack of funding and human resources. Article 6.3 expressly protects the right to vote of Mongolian citizens abroad.

The right to vote is enshrined in both the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Mongolia is a party, and the Mongolian Constitution. If accepted, the Election Commission’s proposal would mean that 220,000 citizens living outside the country would not be able to participate in next year’s elections. This figure corresponds to roughly 15% of the total number of citizens of Mongolia that have reached voting age. It is therefore important that the Parliament reject this proposal of the General Election Commission as its adoption would mean the disenfranchisement of a huge percentage of Mongolia’s electorate.

FORUM-ASIA is also supporting the initiative of civil society organisations in Mongolia to declare unconstitutional provisions of the Law on Election of the State Great Khural and the Law on Central Election Organs. As well as enshrining electoral rights, as mentioned above, the Law on Election of the State Great Khural, which was passed by the Parliament in 2005, gives broad powers to the General Election Commission to formulate rules on voting procedures for Mongolian citizens overseas. It was followed, in 2006, by the Law on Central Election Organs, which gives the General Election Commission the power to formulate all rules pertaining to elections. These sections of the two laws, however, contravene Articles 21.4 and 59.3 of the Mongolian Constitution which clearly provide that all rules on elections should come from Parliament. No other body or institution can be vested with the power to issue additional rules or regulations regarding elections.

Three Mongolian citizens, R. Burmaa, D. Sukhgerel, and S. Oyuntuya, on 28 September 2007, have filed a petition before the Constitutional Court of Mongolia challenging the constitutionality of the abovementioned laws. The Voter’s Education Center and other civil society organisations in Mongolia have expressed their support for the said petition.

The right to vote is an essential ingredient for the flourishing of a strong democracy. Mongolia should safeguard this right. It should not allow any measure that may compromise this basic freedom and right of the citizens of Mongolia.

In solidarity,



Anselmo Lee
Executive Director


For further information, please contact:
Em Gil, Programme Manager of the Human Rights Defenders Programme at [email protected]