Z.Enkhbold denies UDF has a political agenda - News.MN

Z.Enkhbold denies UDF has a political agenda

Old News! Published on: 2010.03.12

Z.Enkhbold denies UDF has a political agenda


The Head of the Union of Democratic Forces, MP Z.Enkhbold, answered questions after its first general meeting yesterday.

Is it true that the UDF is not aiming to bring the Government down?

Nothing like this was discussed today. We had many suggestions about how social barriers are to be removed, how institutions of a true democratic society must be allowed to work, and how the Rule of Law can be enforced. Neither Parliament nor the Government is seen as representing the people as most of their decisions do not serve the interests of the majority of citizens.

What happens if you fail in your bid for reforms? Will you then try to bring down the Government?

That is not our priority. We shall provide the Government with fresh ideas and suggest programs that would be prepared after consulting the people.

Why did we need the UDF to say these things? Why could the MPs who are among its founders not raise their voice in Parliament or in Government meetings?

Because the system of operating is all wrong.  Decisions reached through the same old pre-90s system are bound to be irrelevant and useless. We are being handed down diktats from the top. The UDF wants active and meaningful participation from below.

You yourself head the biggest Standing Committee of Parliament and are also on the DP’s executive board. Why can’t you say there the things you are telling now?

For the record, I am no longer a member of the executive board. G.Batkhuu has taken my place. Besides, the UDF must not be related to the DP. We are an NGO with no party affiliation. It is open to all who have the democratic spirit and who want to create a new Mongolia. This agenda goes beyond that of a political party like the DP. It is true that being an MP offers me much scope for work. But there is little freedom to consult the people before a debate. That mechanism is essential if decisions are to be taken together with those for whom they are taken.

The country is now at a crossroad on the path to development. What should we do with Tavantolgoi? We can sell the deposit at a high price to foreign companies. By doing so, Mongolia will have a one-time large income but there will only be tax income in the future. If this happens, the MNT1.5 million or MNT1 million will be given once. The other option is to keep the licenses in state possession and develop projects to create jobs and export refined coal instead of raw coal. Whatever decision is made will not be changed for 30 years, so we have to act responsibly. This is why we need to ask the people what their views on Tavantolgoi are. Do they want the MNT1.5 million once and for all or shall we employ Mongolians in Tavantolgoi and create jobs and establish a factory that will provide constant income in the future?

The likely political fall-out of this meeting is what interests the people most. What will happen to the DP if the UDF gains strength and gets its way? Wouldn’t that harm its reputation?

No. I think the party will become even better. It will take decisions based on direct inputs from the people. We hope to have online discussions every day where 40,000 to 50,000 people will participate. What they favor will be the government’s decision.

Does this mean the days of the Mongolian Democratic Union are over?

There is enough space for both UDF and MDU to live together in harmony. The MDU has its own priorities, methods of operation and rules of membership. We shall operate in a wider arena and will thus attract more people than the MDU.

Do you rule out a political role for the UDF? Will it never work for the interests of a certain political group?

Our goal is to ensure that government decisions are made to serve the interests of the people. The meeting is meant to throw up ideas on how this can be achieved. We are here to fill a public vacuum in Mongolia.

MDU members are a most significant part of the UDF strength. You also have the support of the DP Secretary General. But DP head N.Altankhuyag has been lukewarm about this. Why?

This is not true. N.Altankhuyag is abroad on official business, but he sent a message of greetings to the meeting. It was read out by D.Erdenebat.

There are rumors that the DP is heading for a split.

I think after today’s meeting no one fears this. We are not talking about factional interests within one political party. We want people’s participation in decision making to further national development. We need to find a way out from the situation we are currently in. That is why all these hundreds of people from all over Mongolia have gathered here.

Rumors that the President is behind you are getting stronger as he has not made a single comment in public.

(Laughs). Doesn’t that show that he is not behind us?

You have regretted that the coalition Government has failed to amend the State Constitution and the Election Law. The Director of Parliament Office has stated that the election law amendment will be the first on the agenda of Parliament’s Spring session. Does this mean the party groups have reached an agreement on the matter?

The party groups have been asked to meet and settle the issues on March 22.

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