Demonstration was held, gatherings took place urging the rulers to carry out their election promises. In that sense it was truly just and reasonable action. A democratic government is put in place in accordance with wishes of majority. Majority makes the decision while minority freely express their views on it. This is the basic tenet. Open and free competition for state decision making is called elections. So a candidate during the election campaigns have to promote and make known to the public what he or she can do if elected as decision maker. This is election promises assurances. People express their appraisal of implementation of these promises during the next elections. The outcome is manifested the election results. So the public do not just wait for the rulers to carry out their promises but they constantly remind and urge them to implement those promises. This is a very straightforward and just cause.
Meaningless but nice sounding promises impossible to implement and if implemented could bring damage to overall development of the country is termed as populism. It is cheap politics. In places where social awareness is low, where democratic principles had not taken deep root public is prone to fall victim of populism. The most illuminating and telling example of populism happened after World War II in Argentina. General Juan D. Peryn who enjoyed the support of trade unions had become the President and Evita Peryn, his wife had become Vice-President. They promised to take good care of people, poor and working class. And they did carry out their promises fully 100 percent. Workers salaries were raised without any justification several folds. Remunerations and rewards got out of hands. 13th month salary was first introduced over there. Salary and remuneration were not dependent of outcome of work. In order to finance these huge expenditures almost all production facilities were taken over by the state. Thus in just a few years all the state financial resources were completely depleted. In other words it was distributed without any calculations. By providing meat and grain to countries in war Argentina got extremely rich, researches believe that should the misfortune called Peronism had not fallen on Argentina today it could have become one of the world leading economies. When he had no more money to give away in order to preserve his grip on power Peryn turned to dictatorship.
Political parties in any democracies may be classified, in general, by their political orientation into rightist and leftist political parties. Leftists believe raising tax and by its revenue to take care of people’s needs will be the right course, while rightists consider that it will be right to decrease the tax and encourage production in order to enhance national capacity. These parties oppose each other and keep the balance so that the overall policy of the state would not take extreme rightist or extreme leftist course. Since Mongolia has made transition towards democratic system not a single rightist party has emerged. Political parties in Mongolia probably can be classified, in general, as leftist, extreme left, ultra-leftist, extra-leftist etc. They all speak, in some way or other, to take good care of the people. At the same time they constantly advocate tax cuts. These talks do not stick together. Such a funny and strange, at the same time pleasant to the ear promises are populism. So one can arrive at a conclusion that all our political parties can be classified not as leftist or rightist but they, in fact, are all populist parties. In healthy democracies political parties enter into election race speaking about ways and means of development of the country, improving livelihood of its people, but in our case both the knowledge of the candidates and level of (political) awareness of the electors are insufficient for that. So for understandable reason a very simplistic approach “You name the nice food, I’ll dip my chopsticks into it” is put into action.
Until 2000 Mongolian political parties generally expressed their good promises in a slogan type catchwords, since dawn of new century they started to give promises of hand-outs of certain amount of money. The total sum of promised money hand-outs during 2000 elections was calculated to be 7.5 billion dollars, which was 5 to 6 times high than the GDP of the given period. In 2004 one of the parties promised to pay a certain amount to every single child, the other party to prevail it promised money to every newlywed couples. If the price of copper which is virtually the sole export of Mongolia did not rise these would have remained to be empty promises. To find extra money so called 68 percent windfall profits tax was devised as a result it brought Mongolia before Internal Court of Arbitration, there is the danger that it may face payment of billions of dollars. Because of the promised money for the newlyweds number of families who tied knots of nuptials increased four times and meaning of the most sacred of all human relations- the marriage has been distorted.
In 2008 elections the parties entered in political struggle with far more vigor than before and promised hand-out of millions of tugrugs to the every citizen of the country. If these gargantuan promises are to be materialized then use mineral resources and the mines should be put into operation. However, this meaningless distribution of money corrupts social moral, reduces value of labor, fans inflation, will bring severe damage to the economy. There is a term the curse of natural resources. This does not mean that natural resources are the source of curse but it speaks of disaster that may come from lack of wisdom to spend these resources intelligently. That is to say because of the irrelevant promises of (political) parties we are creating the conditions to experience the curse of natural resources.
As the result of the race to give more and more promises the state has taken a lot of extra burden on its back and declared that these services are “free of charge”. Across the board “free of charge” health and education services affected the quality of these services and become unbearable burden to the state. Even during the socialist period parents had to pay for the meals of their children attending kindergartens, the state did not pay lunch of school children. Since it is impossible to look after and take care every single citizen individually there will be certain discrimination. A special social class called public servants (state employees) has emerged. The state bears training fees of their children in high institutions of learning (Colleges, Institutes and Universities), they receive apartments at lowered rate, receive loans before others. But this section of population which do not create material wealth of the society has formed the parasitic part of the society.
One of the forms of populist promises is fairy tale like story about new development opportunities. Any sound minded person before undertaking any entrepreneurial activity will think first of all about marketing of the products to be produced. No one will need construction of a plant, the products of which do not appeal to anyone or can not be sold or marketed. But if a plant is going to be erected on state budget marketing or profits are of no one’s concern. The so called national development policy planning paper which is a plan of dream list of building industrial base or park for twenty, thirty years, while there is no indication how the products will be marketed, to whom and at what price. If this list will be yet another promise it will mean disaster for the national economy. To build high-voltage electric transmission line to a small settlement of 50 households knowing full-well that the money spent for the construction will be returned in 500 years can be done only on state resources. To build a highway through a place not speaking vehicles but cows pass seldom is useful only for those who are hungry of prestige and power. Two million pairs of men’s leather shoes known as the shoes for 90 tugrugs were produced, sent to Laos as present but the other party begged back not send anymore, this happened 30 years ago. Nowadays when we live in a society of market economy the huge price tag for the sagacity of those who advanced the idea of restoring that shoe factory will be shouldered by tax-payers and ordinary workers from their own pockets.
In our country promises have turned into a widespread phenomenon which disregards and violate all existing laws and regulations. During 1997 Presidential election campaign one of the candidates urged citizens not to pay tax on imported cars, visited border port and personally organized implementation of his initiative. Seekers of parliamentary seats in Ulaanbaatar since 2000 in direct violation of laws on migration, land ownership and regulations of the city administration began personally to hand out valid and invalid documents. And later this illegal action has become such an ordinary matter that those who migrated to the city prior to election erected their fences at any place of their choosing and sat in waiting for the candidate’s arrival. Laws may be faulty or bad but the essence of democratic system is everyone lives under the law and the high blue sky. If one considers that laws are irrelevant then election will also be irrelevant.
I am very pleased by the demonstration to urge the rulers to implement their election promises. I gratefully welcome the demonstration in that sense that it would help political parties to abandon this bad habit of meaningless promises. In the first place the society is overfed by these with hollow promises and they damage the country’s economy, furthermore these worthless promises morally corrupts the society.
I don’t know whether it will be an awakening call or it will remain unheeded. Just as donkeys which will shake its head no matter what is poured into its ear whether it is gold or water. However, the only regretful thing is that even behind this just demand we can discern the play of funny oldies who are eyeing for power and influence. Isn’t it? Yes our state mechanism works badly, state representatives are ugly, stinking and greedy, they are parasites who are not engaged in what they should be doing, they are half-witted and stupid… I can’t even find words to describe them... hoodwinks… yes, true, true… but they are legitimate. We ourselves elected them without any cohesion or pressure. For that very reason they are genuinely legitimate. We were deceived, some of them were elected through tricks, election results were rigged…which is also true… however, these wrongs should be corrected, none has the right to tear them down. Because it is legitimate. The law is faulty …true, true…So let’s correct the law.