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Mongolia: Constitutional Reform Discussed

(May 10, 2017) On April 29 and 30, 2017, Mongolia held a “deliberative polling” event to discuss constitutional reform. Although no decisions were made, several recommendations were issued, including a proposal to restructure the current unicameral legislature, the Great State Hural.  The 76-member Great State Hural is described in the Constitution as “the highest organ of State power” with exclusive legislative authority. (Mongolians Discuss Constitutional Reform, NEWS.MN (May 1, 2017); Mongolia’s Constitution of 1992 with Amendments Through 2001 (Constitution), arts. 20 & 21(1), CONSTITUTE PROJECT.)

The April event was the first such deliberation on constitutional reform in Mongolia. The participants, 740 in number, were randomly selected.  (Mongolians Discuss Constitutional Reform, supra.)  “Deliberative polling” is a form of political consultation that consists of a random group of citizens from all walks of life coming together to discuss issues of national importance, with the goal of assisting lawmakers in their decision-making.  (Id.; see also Sean Gray, Deliberative Polling, PARTICIPEDIA (Nov. 6, 2009).)

The recommendations made last month include:

  • maintaining the current balance of power between the legislature and the executive branches of government;
  • strengthening the unity of the country;
  • consolidating how local administration is structured;
  • developing a professional, independent civil service;
  • strengthening the judiciary to improve the legal structure; and
  • creating a bicameral legislature that would include the State Great Hural and the State Congress. (Mongolians Discuss Constitutional Reform, supra.)

Mongolia’s current Constitution was adopted in 1992 and was amended in 1999 and 2001. (Constitution.) It specifies that amendments can be made through a two-step process.  Proposed amendments are submitted to the legislature by the Constitutional Court.  If supported by at least two-thirds of the legislature, the proposed amendment is voted on in a national referendum.  (Id. art. 68.)