Mongolia Votes for Change, Too

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2009 1:48 PM CDT
Supporters of the Democratic Party celebrate after Elbegdorj Tsahia of the Democratic Party claimed victory at the presidential election in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, Monday, May 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Batsukh)
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(Newser) – In a lot of ways, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj looks a lot like another newly elected president. A young, Harvard-educated orator, Elbegdorj rode into power Sunday on a message of change, with most of his support coming from cities. His opponents cried that he was part Chinese. Sound familiar? Elbegdorj isn’t quite the Mongolian Obama—he’s been prime minister twice already—but he’s close, GlobalPost reports.

Mongolia’s economy relies heavily on minerals, and the economic downturn has crushed it. Many see the government as incompetent. “The people here aren’t necessarily for Elbegdorj,” says a local TV producer. “They want change.” The election also renewed faith in democracy. Thanks to a series of tough security measures, there were no irregularities at the polls; last year’s parliamentary elections led to disputed tallies and deadly riots.