Mongolia’s Ex-Leader Says Election Decision ‘Illegal’
Mongolia’s former leader Nambar Enkhbayar said Tuesday a decision barring him from running in upcoming elections was “illegal”, as his corruption trial was postponed for the third time.
Enkhbayar — who had planned to run in parliamentary polls on June 28 before being barred from doing so last week — faces five counts of graft dating back to his time as prime minister and president of the impoverished country.
But on Tuesday his first hearing was postponed for the third time after he complained of not having enough time to go over the case files and because his lawyer had left the city.
“The election committee denied my application to be a candidate. That was illegal so I gave a letter to the Constitutional Court to reconsider my candidacy for the election,” he told reporters outside court in Ulan Bator.
Mongolia’s Constitutional Court is an entity that settles legal disputes.
The country’s election committee last week denied Enkhbayar’s application to run in the polls on the grounds that he did not meet the necessary qualifications to become a candidate.
The former president — who is head of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party — was rejected based on an election law that states that a candidate must display proper experience, education and commitment to the country.
He had been attempting a political comeback three years after losing a presidential election to current incumbent Tsakhia Elbegdorj.
But he was arrested in April at the order of the nation’s corruption watchdog in a dawn raid on his house.
His trial has already been postponed twice, and on Tuesday the head judge said it would be rescheduled again to June 21.
Enkhbayar argued that his lawyer was not present, explaining that she is a candidate for the upcoming election and is currently campaigning in Gobi-Altai province, around 900 kilometers (560 miles) west of Ulan Bator.
But the judge responded that the trial would go ahead on June 21 with or without the lawyer.