Mongolia profile - Leaders

  • 11 November 2014
  • From the section Asia

President: Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj

Mining and resources top Mr Elbegdorj's agenda

Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, from the Democratic Party, began a second term as president in July 2013. He won just over 50% of the vote.

The veteran democracy campaigner has twice served as prime minister and was first elected president in 2009.

The faltering economy and concerns about the growing role of foreign firms in the mining sector were key campaign issues in the 2013 election.

Mr Elbegdorj's government pursues a "resource nationalist" approach which aims to give Mongolia a bigger say in how its assets are exploited.

Analysts say Mr Elbegdorj enjoys the support of the urban middle class.

The prime minister and parliament exercise real political power, but the president heads the armed forces and has the power of veto in parliament. Frequent changes of government have also enhanced the role of the presidency.

Born in 1963, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj was one of the leaders of the peaceful revolution that ended the Communist dictatorship in 1990. He has a degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in the US.

Acting Prime Minister: Dendev Terbishdagva

Deputy Prime Minister Terbishdagva took over as acting head of government after Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag lost a parliamentary vote of confidence in November 2014. Mr Altankhuyag had been under fire for alleged corruption within his administration, and Mr Terbishdagva will remain in office until a new government is formed.

He had also faced criticism within his Democratic Party over a dramatic slow-down in Mongolia's economic growth over the past two years.

Mr Altankhuyag succeeded future president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj as leader of the Democratic Party in 2008, after the party's poor showing in parliamentary elections.

Like his predecessor, he was a veteran of the 1990 wave of anti-Communist protests, and served as a member of parliament for the Democratic Party and its Social Democratic forerunner.

After the 2008 poll he took the post of first deputy prime minister in a grand coalition with the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party election-winners.

The parliamentary elections of 2012 saw the free-market Democratic Party take the lead again, and Mr Altankhuyag reconstituted the coalition with himself as prime minister.

Disputes over how to manage Mongolia's promising natural resources have bedevilled relations between the nationalist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party and President Elbegdorj.

These tensions exacerbated in the government of Mr Altankhuyag to the point that the People's Revolutionary Party quit the coalition in December 2012, unsettling investor confidence in Mongolia.

Born in 1958, Mr Altankhuyag taught in the mathematics and physics department of the National University of Mongolia before moving into politics. His previous cabinet experience consisted of a brief stint as minister of agriculture and industry (1998-99) and two years as finance minister (2004-06) in Democratic Party governments.