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Mongolia's new president, the martial arts star

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By Euronews
Mongolia's new president, the martial arts star

A former martial arts star has won a run-off in Mongolia’s presidential poll, according to the General Election commission.

Khaltmaa Battulga won with 50.6 percent of the vote but turnout was low at 60.9 percent.

The election was largely seen as a referendum on the government’s economic recovery plans.

“I will support foreign investment, but it needs to be in a win-win situation for everyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s China or Russia, or any other countries, I will support investment together with technology,” Battulga told a press conference.

His promise of a tougher stance on its giant neighbour China went down well with voters, as did his promise to resuscitate the ailing economy.

Some investors have been wary of a Battulga presidency because of his calls for more state control of some mines and his suspicions of China, Mongolia’s biggest trade partner.

Despite past protests, he has said he will stand behind plans to build a key railway to China from the enormous Tavan Tolgoi coal mine and has praised China’s Belt and Road pan-Asian infrastructure initiative.

In 2011 Mongolia had been the world’s fastest growing economy with a GDP of 17.5 percent.

But last year the price of copper collapsed and with it the tugrik, Mongolia’s currency.

Battulga captured the attention of voters who feel Mongolia received a bad deal on investments, promising greater government control of strategic mines, such as Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.