Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mongolians vote for new president

Voters in Mongolia are electing a new president, a year after vote-rigging claims in parliamentary polls triggered deadly riots in the country.

Current President Nambaryn Enkhbayar of the former Communist party is being challenged by Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of the main opposition Democratic Party.

Polls opened at 2300 GMT on Saturday are due to close at 1400 GMT on Sunday.

One of the main election issues has been the distribution of income from Mongolia's vast mineral resources.

Last year, five people died and hundreds were hurt in protests over alleged fraud in the general elections.

In 1990, Mongolia abandoned its 70-year-old Soviet-style one-party state and embraced political and economic reforms.

Democracy and privatisation were enshrined in a new constitution, but the collapse of the economy after the withdrawal of Soviet support triggered widespread poverty and unemployment in the sparsely populated landlocked country.