Mongolian Opposition Candidate Wins Presidential Runoff Vote

A former martial-arts expert and opposition candidate has won a runoff election for Mongolia’s presidency, results from election officials show.

The Central Election Commission on July 8 said Battulga Khaltmaa of the opposition Democratic Party had 50.6 percent of the vote against Enkhbold Miyegombo from the ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP), who had 41.1 percent. About 8.3 percent of the votes were abstentions.

The runner-up conceded defeat, thanking supporters and saying 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," he said.

Election officials said more than 1.2 million people voted in the country’s seventh presidential election. Turnout was 60.5 percent.

The president-elect, who ran on a populist, anti-China platform, told reporters that "I will start work straight away to resolve the economic difficulties and make Mongolians debt free as I promised."

Battulga, a real estate tycoon, has vowed to utilize Mongolia’s mining wealth to get the country out of debt.

Mongolia has negotiated a $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund-led bailout to help stabilize the economy and ease its dependence on China, which buys about 80 percent of Mongolian exports.

The campaign was marked by scandal, with both candidates being accused of financial irregularities.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa