A week ago I landed in the Mongolian Republic en route from Beijing. I've not been here for two years, so I was surprised to hear that the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) had changed their name into Mongolian People's Party (MPP). Possibly changing their name back to what it was before 1921, or just erasing their communist past. It cannot have been an easy task to change a name in use for 90 years. Its like a trademark for political stability in Mongolia.
The revolutionary part has not been entirely washed away, as their new flag is identical to the French tricolour, with a roselike flower in the middle. However, this change did not come about without protests, as the former Prime Minister and President N. Enkhbayar decided to start his own party, retaking the familiar name of MPRP. The result was that the renamed MPP decided to take the case to court and sue Enkhbayar and his associates. That's where things stands at the present.
The idea is not new, though, as the former President N. Bagabandi also presented ideas that got political commentators to speculate if he would start his own party after the termination of his presidency. It turned out that nothing came out of this. However, the result seem to be that approximately 20 years after the downfall of communism, the former Communist Party has finally split into two parts.
For the upcoming election in 2012 this means that the result becomes rather unpredictable. MPRP stood for stability in Mongolian politics, as it possessed a superior organizational build-up compared to their opponents in the opposition.
Gradually this changed as the Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP) became their coalition party after the election in 2008. After this cooperation (starting in the mandate period before 2008) the MNDP became more and more integrated into the power institutions that preserved MPRP's grip on power. As grip over the Central Election Committee (CEC) decreased after the election in 2006, as the chairman came from the MNDP, the total control of the MPRP started to erode.
However, much can still happen, as we will have to wait for the court decision on the legality of the name of Enkhbayar's party. How will the MNDP respond to this? Where will the legitimacy of the MPRP go? To the MPP or Enkhbayar's party? What kind of policies will evolve out of this?