Mongolia State Organizations

Mongolia State Organizations

Mongolia State Organizations

Mongolia State Organizations


As is true of any communist-run state, the party's influence and voice were authoritative and all high government officials belonged to the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party. Nevertheless, in order to establish the mechanisms of government for pursuing the party program, the Constitution provides authority to key state executive, legislative, and judicial bodies, and defines their respective character, composition, and powers.

Mongolia State Organizations: Legislative

The unicameral People's Great Hural is described in the Constitution as "the highest agency of state power in the Mongolian People's Republic." It is assigned exclusive legislative power for the country by Article 19. The Eleventh People's Great Hural, elected in July 1986, had 370 deputies as determined by a constitutional amendment in 1981. Of the 370 elected deputies, nearly 89 percent were party members or candidate members; 28 percent, industrial workers; 28 percent, agrarian cooperative members; and 44 percent, intellectuals and bureaucrats. Also, 25 percent of the deputies were women, and 67 percent were elected for the first time. Finally, deputies were afforded special protection in that they may not be arrested or brought to trial without the consent of the Hural or its Presidium.

Deputies served four-year terms, and they were elected from districts divided equally according to population. The slate of candidates presented, however, required party review and approval well in advance of the election. Candidates were proposed by trade unions, farm organizations, youth and party organizations, and other social organizations. Before election day, usually in June, the names of candidates for these constituencies were published in the press. Registered electors could vote for one registered candidate by placing an unmarked ballot bearing the candidate's name in the ballot box. To vote against a candidate, an elector had to strike the candidate's name from the ballot.

It was estimated that 33 percent of the deputies-- representing the party and state leadership--were reelected after each term. Not surprisingly, a high proportion of the elected deputies were party members or candidate members. There also was a noticeable trend reflecting the gradual urbanization of the country, as shown in the 1979 Mongolian census figures. Press coverage of results usually reported 99.98 percent turnout, in favor of the official candidates.

The People's Great Hural, which convenes once a year, elects its officers, including a chairman (speaker) and four deputy chairmen. It selects standing commissions (budget, legislative proposals, nationality affairs, and foreign affairs), and it elects the Presidium. Constitutional powers accorded to the People's Great Hural include amendment of the constitution; adoption of laws; formation of the Council of Ministers; and confirmation of ministers, the national economic plan, and the budget. In 1989 the deputy chairmen were the president of the Presidium, an army officer, a woman, and, to show recognition of minorities, a Kazakh.

Ten permanent committees assisted in specialized areas of government work: industry; environmental protection; construction; youth affairs; budgets and planning; transportation and communications; labor resources; agriculture; trade and services; and health, education, culture and scientific affairs. Also, the People's Great Hural was given powers to establish "the basic principles and measures in the domain of internal and foreign policy" and to decide "questions of peace and defense of the socialist motherland." In practice, however, authority in the fields of foreign and domestic affairs was exercised regularly by the chairman of the Presidium and the minister of foreign affairs. By a constitutional amendment in November 1980, the People's Great Hural is charged with forming the state's People's Control Committee that heads a system of agencies "which shall incorporate state and social control of the working people at enterprises, institutions, organizations, and agricultural associations."

Although legislative power is concentrated in the People's Great Hural, the right of legislative initiative is accorded to several bodies. They include the Presidium, the Council of Ministers, deputies and standing commissions of the People's Great Hural, the Supreme Court, and the Office of the Procurator of the Republic. In addition, legislation can be introduced by youths and workers through the Central Committee of the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League and the Central Council of Mongolian Trade Unions.

The Presidium of the People's Great Hural was the "highest agency of state power" presiding in the interval between legislative sessions. In 1989 the chairman of the Presidium, Batmonh, was the de facto president of Mongolia. Other Presidium officers included a deputy chairman, a secretary, and five members representing trade unions (two persons for this category), youth, women, and a key party department (either the cadres administration or foreign relations department). The principal powers of the Presidium include formation, abolition, and reorganization of ministries; appointment of ministers and ambassadors; ratification or denunciation of treaties and agreements with other states; and award of military and other titles and ranks. The Presidium also participates in the regular powers accorded to the People's Great Hural.

Mongolia State Organizations: Executive

The Council of Ministers is the "highest executive and administrative agency of state administration." Under Article 42 of the Constitution, this body is composed of a chairman--or premier, a first deputy chairman, five other deputy chairmen, ministers, chairmen of the state committees, the chairman of the State Bank of the Mongolian People's Republic, the president of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, and the head of the Central Statistical Board. In the 1980s, the deputy chairmen regularly included the chairmen of the State Planning Commission; the State Committee for Construction, Architecture, and Technical Control; and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) Affairs. In 1986 the Council of Ministers was composed of thirty-three members.

Members of the Council of Ministers also were party members or candidate members. In 1989 Dumaagiyn Sodnom, a full member of the party Political Bureau, was chairman of the Council of Ministers, making him de facto premier. The principal responsibilities of the Council of Ministers in the late 1980s were to coordinate and to direct the work of the ministries; to supervise national economic planning and to implement the national plan; to exercise general direction over foreign relations and defense matters; to take measures for the defense of state interests and the concept of socialist ownership; to ensure public order; and to direct and to guide the work of aymag and somon executive administrations.

A general ministerial reorganization was carried out in 1987 and 1988 during which 3,000 administrative positions were abolished--reportedly, a significant saving of funds. In December 1987, the Mongolian press announced the dissolution of six ministries and two state committees and the subsequent formation of five new ministries. These efforts to streamline the government structure and to make it more efficient continued into January 1988, when six state committees and special offices were dissolved and two new state committees were formed.

In general this reorganization resulted in the performance of certain functions by separate ministries or in the subsuming of several committees under the mission of one. For example, the responsibilities for agriculture and the food industry, previously handled by two separate ministries, were combined in the new Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry. The newly established Ministry of Environmental Protection indicated Mongolia's recent and growing concern over one of its most intractable problems: the protection and renewal of the national environment.

There was no formally constituted permanent civil service to staff government positions. Party organizations were paramount in the selection and assignment of civil servants. The party decided which person was suited to what kind of work on the basis of individual loyalty, honesty, political consciousness, knowledge of relevant tasks, and organizational abilities.

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