Presidential elections in Mongolia have passed off peacefully, raising hopes of new inward investment to fight off recession.
Opinion polls suggest that opposition challenger Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj is well placed to beat incumbent Nambariin Enkhbayar. Elbegdorj fought on an anti-corruption ticket and has strong support in the capital Ulan Bator. President Enkhbayar ran on a law and order and national unity ticket and has backing in rural areas. Landlocked Mongolia depends largely on copper and gold mining, but it is suffering from plummeting mineral prices and a third of the population lives below the poverty line. After voting one student said: “Firstly, to fight poverty the new President needs to listen to the people to understand the problems that they are facing. With the financial crisis, the prices are very high and this makes life difficult.” Parliamentary elections last year were marred by violence and the peaceful conduct of the poll could in itself be good news for the 3 million-strong population. Innvestors are said to have been wanting reassurance before putting money into a large new mining project. The result of the poll is expected on Monday.