Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2017, 15:02 GMT

Enabling Environments for Civic Movements and the Dynamics of Democratic Transition - Mongolia

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 10 July 2008
Cite as Freedom House, Enabling Environments for Civic Movements and the Dynamics of Democratic Transition - Mongolia, 10 July 2008, available at: [accessed 21 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Period of democratic transition: 1990
Pro-democracy civic movement: present

The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP, the former Communist Party) ruled Mongolia beginning in 1924, when a Soviet-backed Marxist revolt led to the creation of the world's second single-party Communist state. The MPRP dominated all aspects of political life, including the legislature, which met for only three days each year. No other political parties were permitted.

In the wake of the 1989 Eastern European anti-Communist revolutions, a group of Mongolian dissidents initiated public civic gatherings, which became the core of the nonviolent reform movement. The unofficial civil society meetings gave birth to several prominent political groups, including the Mongolian Democratic Union, which organized popular street protests and hunger strikes in December 1989 and early 1990. On March 4, tens of thousands of demonstrators protested outside the Parliament, leading to the resignation of much of the MPRP leadership on March 12. The constitution was revised in May to allow for free elections with a multiparty system, abolish the MPRP's dominant role, and adopt a presidential system. These changes were facilitated by reform-leaning MPRP members, who assumed power following the resignation of the old hard-line leadership. Facing an unprepared opposition, the newly reformed MPRP easily won the country's first free parliamentary elections, quickly called in July 1990.

Political liberalization has continued since, and the 1996 elections saw the MPRP swept out of Parliament and a subsequent peaceful transfer of power to the Democratic and Social Democrat parties.

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