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The unicameral People's Great Hural is described in the Constitution as "the highest agency of state power in the Mongolian People's Republic." It is assigned exclusive legislative power for the country by Article 19. The Eleventh People's Great Hural, elected in July 1986, had 370 deputies as determined by a constitutional amendment in 1981 (see table below). Of the 370 elected deputies, nearly 89 percent were party members or candidate members; 28 percent, industrial workers; 28 percent, agrarian cooperative members; and 44 percent, intellectuals and bureaucrats. Also, 25 percent of the deputies were women, and 67 percent were elected for the first time. Finally, deputies were afforded special protection in that they may not be arrested or brought to trial without the consent of the Hural or its Presidium.

Hurals, 1924-1986

First National Great HuralNovember 1924
Second National Great HuralNovember 1925
Third National Great HuralNovember 1926
Fourth National Great HuralOctober-November 1927
Fifth National Great HuralDecember 1928-January 1929
Sixth National Great HuralApril 1930
Seventh National Great HuralDecember 20-27, 1937
Eighth National Great HuralJune 20-July 9, 1940
Ninth National Great HuralFebruary 12-19, 1949
First People's Great HuralJuly 1951
Second People's Great HuralJune 1954
Third People's Great HuralJune 1957
Fourth People's Great HuralJuly 1960
Fifth People's Great HuralJune 1963
Sixth People's Great HuralJuly 1966
Seventh People's Great Hural June1969
Eighth People's Great HuralJuly 1973
Ninth People's Great HuralJune 1977
Tenth People's Great HuralJune-July 1981
Eleventh People's Great HuralJuly 1986

Deputies served four-year terms, and they were elected from districts divided equally according to population. The slate of candidates presented, however, required party review and approval well in advance of the election. Candidates were proposed by trade unions, farm organizations, youth and party organizations, and other social organizations. Before election day, usually in June, the names of candidates for these constituencies were published in the press. Registered electors could vote for one registered candidate by placing an unmarked ballot bearing the candidate's name in the ballot box. To vote against a candidate, an elector had to strike the candidate's name from the ballot.

It was estimated that 33 percent of the deputies - representing the party and state leadership - were reelected after each term. Not surprisingly, a high proportion of the elected deputies were party members or candidate members. There also was a noticeable trend reflecting the gradual urbanization of the country, as shown in the 1979 Mongolian census figures. Press coverage of results usually reported 99.98 percent turnout, in favor of the official candidates.

The People's Great Hural, which convenes once a year, elects its officers, including a chairman (speaker) and four deputy chairmen. It selects standing commissions (budget, legislative proposals, nationality affairs, and foreign affairs), and it elects the Presidium. Constitutional powers accorded to the People's Great Hural include amendment of the constitution; adoption of laws; formation of the Council of Ministers; and confirmation of ministers, the national economic plan, and the budget. In 1989 the deputy chairmen were the president of the Presidium, an army officer, a woman, and, to show recognition of minorities, a Kazakh.

Ten permanent committees assisted in specialized areas of government work: industry; environmental protection; construction; youth affairs; budgets and planning; transportation and communications; labor resources; agriculture; trade and services; and health, education, culture and scientific affairs. Also, the People's Great Hural was given powers to establish "the basic principles and measures in the domain of internal and foreign policy" and to decide "questions of peace and defense of the socialist motherland." In practice, however, authority in the fields of foreign and domestic affairs was exercised regularly by the chairman of the Presidium and the minister of foreign affairs. By a constitutional amendment in November 1980, the People's Great Hural is charged with forming the state's People's Control Committee that heads a system of agencies "which shall incorporate state and social control of the working people at enterprises, institutions, organizations, and agricultural associations."

Although legislative power is concentrated in the People's Great Hural, the right of legislative initiative is accorded to several bodies. They include the Presidium, the Council of Ministers, deputies and standing commissions of the People's Great Hural, the Supreme Court, and the Office of the Procurator of the Republic (see The Legal System). In addition, legislation can be introduced by youths and workers through the Central Committee of the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League and the Central Council of Mongolian Trade Unions.

The Presidium of the People's Great Hural was the "highest agency of state power" presiding in the interval between legislative sessions. In 1989 the chairman of the Presidium, Batmonh, was the de facto president of Mongolia. Other Presidium officers included a deputy chairman, a secretary, and five members representing trade unions (two persons for this category), youth, women, and a key party department (either the cadres administration or foreign relations department). The principal powers of the Presidium include formation, abolition, and reorganization of ministries; appointment of ministers and ambassadors; ratification or denunciation of treaties and agreements with other states; and award of military and other titles and ranks. The Presidium also participates in the regular powers accorded to the People's Great Hural.

Last Update: 2010-12-07