Ulan Bator: Mongolia's biggest political party has called on the prime minister to expel its key partner from a governing coalition forged last year, potentially throwing the resource-rich country's politics into renewed turmoil after months of relative stability.
The Democratic Party (DP) of Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg said yesterday that it was ordering him to boot out the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) from the coalition.
The announcement, in the form of a party executive leadership board decision, was published on its website, though it remained unclear if Saikhanbileg would follow through or if negotiations might avert a rupture.
The MPP had no immediate comment on the decision, though was expected to hold a meeting on Monday to address it. Saikhanbileg's spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Saikhanbileg, an advocate for more foreign investment, on Wednesday held talks with Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to Britain and also visited the London Stock Exchange.
Mongolia, a landlocked country between Russia and China and for decades a tightly-controlled satellite of the Soviet Union, shook off communism a quarter century ago, and has developed a vibrant democracy.
But it has struggled to realise the full bounty of its vast underground resources of gold, copper and coal amid internal squabbling over what role foreign investment should play in their extraction.
In remarks to reporters late Friday, Lombiin Erkhembayar, the acting general secretary of the DP, said that the MPP was invited into the coalition last year to help improve Mongolia's economy.
"Unfortunately, all the MPP does is fire government workers and slander the Democratic Party by saying government is doing nothing," Erkhembayar said.
"The government cannot operate normally with the MPP since they joined the coalition."
The DP claims that the MPP had cut more than 600 employees from ministries and government agencies and were criticising the government with an eye on elections due next year.
The "super coalition" government consisting of 19 Cabinet ministers was formed in December, made up of four different political parties that represent the vast majority of the 76-member Great Hural, or parliament.