fredag 22 maj 2009

Tea at the Parliament House

Today we've visited the Foreign Office, the National Democratic Party's office and the Parliament House (also Government House). Real "statsvetarporr" as we call it in our family (literally: political scientists' porno), trying to explain the feeling of breathing the same air as those studied... ;)

The parliament building is quite something. First we have the outside on Sukhbaatar Square with its big statues of the three khans Chinggis, Ögdei and Kublaj. Then there is the inside with an amazing wowen red tapestry outside the floor of the Parliament House. It is a pity that tourists cannot enter just to have a look at this piece of artwork. I was quite stunned and did not even think of taking a photo. Entering the building held quite a ceremony at the security guard's desk. He was as professional as the personnel at the Riksdag in Stockholm, though and even saluted us on our way out.

In the House we met with an MP from the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), sister party of the Swedish Social Democrats. He had visited Sweden several times and regretted that the new Swedish government has decided not to give any development aid to Mongolia. Unfortunate since the projects where quite good according to Hubby. E g giving aid to Mongolian women's centers. (Something extremely urgent in Mongolia where increased unemployment and alcoholism among men leads to increased battering of women.)

We were offered the usual Mongolian toffees and freshly brewed tea in the MP's office. An office decorated with photos of party gatherings and, of course, Chinggis. Among other things (i e Hubby's research) we came to discuss an article in todays UB Post (who call themseleves "Mongolia's independent English news") where the following was written:

"Public opinion polls through media have consistently given a lead to Elbegdorj, who is hoping to become Mongolia's first democratic president."

Information-wise, the next president will be the fourth president of Mongolia since the first democratic presidential election in 1993.

- It is a problem when people believe that the NDP is the only democratic party of Mongolia,

said the MPRP MP. Yes, I guess that this feels tough for a party, such as the MPRP, that has been quite good at organising throughout the whole country, organising being the fundament of democracy.

And I think journalism leaves more to wish for considering the front page of UB Post this week... Of four articles three are either tributes to Elbegdorj or accusations against the other side. Elbegdorj is said to be the Obama of Mongolia (he IS a good speaker, something even his opponents admit)... The First Lady, Ms O Tsolmon, wife of president Enkbayar, is accused by a former minister of trade, who himself has fled the country facing accusations of fraud, to have put 1,3 billion dollars into the Credit Suisse bank. The headlines in UB Post read "Counting money, not votes".

On the other hand this may be an exception since I have understood most of the press and TV to be quite MPRP friendly. One of those channels interviewed Hubby today and we will be sitting here at 9 pm to watch.

Update: Hubby's been on TV tonight, dubbed into both Mongolian and Russian! A Russian channel (AIST Mongolia) interviewed him at the Foreign office today. Since he was dubbed we do not know exactly what he said but the "Swedish doctor and expert on Mongolian elections" (I guess) says he said something about the difference between Swedish and Mongolian elections.

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