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The Council of Ministers is the "highest executive and administrative agency of state administration." Under Article 42 of the Constitution, this body is composed of a chairman - or premier, a first deputy chairman, five other deputy chairmen, ministers, chairmen of the state committees, the chairman of the State Bank of the Mongolian People's Republic, the president of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, and the head of the Central Statistical Board. In the 1980s, the deputy chairmen regularly included the chairmen of the State Planning Commission; the State Committee for Construction, Architecture, and Technical Control; and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) Affairs. In 1986 the Council of Ministers was composed of thirty-three members.

Members of the Council of Ministers also were party members or candidate members. In 1989 Dumaagiyn Sodnom, a full member of the party Political Bureau, was chairman of the Council of Ministers, making him de facto premier. The principal responsibilities of the Council of Ministers in the late 1980s were to coordinate and to direct the work of the ministries; to supervise national economic planning and to implement the national plan; to exercise general direction over foreign relations and defense matters; to take measures for the defense of state interests and the concept of socialist ownership; to ensure public order; and to direct and to guide the work of aymag and somon executive administrations.

A general ministerial reorganization was carried out in 1987 and 1988 during which 3,000 administrative positions were abolished - reportedly, a significant saving of funds. In December 1987, the Mongolian press announced the dissolution of six ministries and two state committees and the subsequent formation of five new ministries. These efforts to streamline the government structure and to make it more efficient continued into January 1988, when six state committees and special offices were dissolved and two new state committees were formed. In general this reorganization resulted in the performance of certain functions by separate ministries or in the subsuming of several committees under the mission of one. For example, the responsibilities for agriculture and the food industry, previously handled by two separate ministries, were combined in the new Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry. The newly established Ministry of Environmental Protection indicated Mongolia's recent and growing concern over one of its most intractable problems: the protection and renewal of the national environment.

There was no formally constituted permanent civil service to staff government positions. Party organizations were paramount in the selection and assignment of civil servants. The party decided which person was suited to what kind of work on the basis of individual loyalty, honesty, political consciousness, knowledge of relevant tasks, and organizational abilities.

Last Update: 2010-12-07