Battulga to become new president of Mongolia after rival concedes

A brash businessman with martial arts skills has clinched Mongolia’s first ever presidential runoff election after his opponent conceded defeat in the scandal-plagued race to take the helm of the resource-rich but debt-laden country.

Khaltmaa Battulga, of the opposition Democratic Party (DP), won with 50.6 percent of the vote on a 60.9 percent turnout, giving him the majority needed to overcome his opponent, parliament speaker Miyeegombo Enkhbold of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP).

Election officials are still, however, waiting on a final count of votes from abroad.

Recognising he was down for the count, Enkhbold thanked his supporters in a concession speech broadcast on Facebook, saying that he would “respect and accept the presidential results”.

“Although the MPP couldn’t succeed in this election, the cabinet will keep working to complete our agenda of overcoming the financial crisis for the well being of our people,” said Enkhbold.

He added that he had spoken to the sitting president about “transferring power as well as presidential stamp in the parliament house which also ends the election”.

Meanwhile, Battulga promised his supporters in the capital Ulaanbaatar’s Independence Square he would “push the government in order to complete all their work”.

“We did this thanks to the power of the people,” said Battulga.

Battulga’s campaign message of “Mongolia First” appealed to the younger generation.

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