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Form of Government

Mongolia in 1989 was a communist state modeled on Soviet political and government institutions. The government was a one-party system, presided over by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party. The party exercised political supervision and control over a pyramidal structure of representative governmental bodies known as hurals - assemblies of people's deputies.

Organization of the Government, 1989.

The highly centralized governmental structure was divided into three major parts: the executive branch, presided over by the Council of Ministers; the legislative branch, represented at the national level by the unicameral People's Great Hural (the national assembly); and the judicial branch, with a Supreme Court presiding over a system of law administered by courts and by an Office of the Procurator of the Republic. The duties and responsibilities of each of these major bodies were identified in the Constitution promulgated in 1960.

Beneath the national level were key administrative subdivisions consisting of eighteen aymags, or provinces, and of the three autonomous cities (hots) of Ulaanbaatar, Darhan, and Erdenet. On the next lower administrative level were counties, or somons, and town centers. At this basic level, government and economic activity were connected closely, so that the leadership of the somon and those of the livestock and agricultural cooperatives operating within the somon often were identical (see Structure of the Economy).

The party related to the apex of the governmental system through its authoritative Political Bureau of the party Central Committee. In 1989 this nine-person body contained the presiding leadership of the country, and it was headed by party general secretary Jambyn Batmonh. Batmonh had dual power status in that he also was head of state as chairman of the Presidium of the People's Great Hural. Batmonh was promoted to these top-level positions in 1984 after his predecessor, Yumjaagiyn Tsedenbal, who had been in power since 1952, was replaced by the Central Committee, reportedly for health reasons (see Socialist Construction under Tsedenbal, 1952-84).

Below the national level, each aymag and somon had its own party organization that conveyed the policies and programs decided by the Political Bureau and directed the work of its counterpart assembly of people's deputies, its agricultural cooperatives, and the local government executive committee in implementing party programs on its level. The concentration of power at the top of the political system and within party channels had, throughout history, helped to create a complacent party and government bureaucracy, a development that hampered the leadership's plans to modernize the country and to stimulate economic development in the late 1980s.

Last Update: 2010-12-07