Riots in Mongolia subside 2008-07-03 22:57:47   Print

    ULAN BATOR, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Riots in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator calmed down on Thursday, with citizens going about their business as usual and a small number of soldiers and police patrolling the main streets.

    Five people were killed and more than 300 others injured in the political turmoil on Tuesday, sparking a four-day state of emergency declared by President Nambariin Enkhbayar.

    The riots were a result of alleged fraudulent practices in Sunday's parliamentary elections, a competition between the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and the Democratic Party, the partners of the coalition government.

    After preliminary election results pointed to the MPRP as the winner, Democratic Party Chairman Tsakhya Elbegdorj on Tuesday claimed fraudulent practices in the ballot counting, demanding a recount of votes in some electoral districts.

    On Tuesday afternoon, around 1,000 supporters of the Democratic Party and other parties marched in the city's central square to protest against alleged fraud in the elections.

    Protesters went to the headquarters of the MPRP, trying to storm into the building. They broke through the police cordon in the evening and set fire to all the rooms of the building and part of the Central Cultural Palace. Five cars were also set ablaze in the streets.

    Rioting continued until Wednesday morning when more than 1,800 police were called in to dispel protesters with rubber bullets and teargas. A total of 708 protesters were arrested.

    Government officials said the illegal activities have caused huge damage.

    To restore order, President Enkhbayar on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in the capital, during which protests are banned and police are allowed to use force to break up protests.

    Enkhbayar also urged the political parties to respect the results declared by the Mongolian General Election Commission.

    Meanwhile, the Mongolian National Security Council held an urgent meeting, calling for the settlement of political disputes by law.

    On Thursday morning, the MPRP and the Democratic Party agreed to maintain social order at a parliament session, which also approved the presidential order of a state of emergency in Ulan Bator.

    According to preliminary results released by the election commission on Wednesday, the ruling MPRP won 44 of the 76 parliament seats, while the rival Democratic Party secured 27 seats.

    Under Mongolian law, the MPRP is entitled to form a new government as it holds more than half of the parliament seats.

    In the parliamentary election in 2004, neither the MPRP nor the Democratic Party garnered a majority in the parliament and the two established a coalition government.

    The MPRP took the upper hand four years later with achievements in price control, government management and economic development.

    The MPRP's platform for the 2008 parliamentary election enshrines stable development, improvement of livelihood and other lofty aims.

    Under the platform, the country's annual economic growth rate will exceed 10 percent on average and the per capita GDP will reach 5,000 U.S. dollars by 2012.

Editor: Yan Liang
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