Sükhbaataryn Batbold (Sukhbaatar Batbold)
|24th Prime Minister of Mongolia|
29 October 2009 – 10 August 2012
|Preceded by||Sanjaagiin Bayar|
|Succeeded by||Norovyn Altankhuyag|
|Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Party|
8 April 2010 – 25 July 2012
|Preceded by||Sanjaagiin Bayar|
|Succeeded by||Ölziisaikhany Enkhtüvshin|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia|
|Preceded by||Sanjaasürengiyn Oyun|
|Succeeded by||Gombojavyn Zandanshatar|
|Born||June 24, 1963|
Choibalsan, Mongolian People's Republic
|Political party||Mongolian People's Party|
|Alma mater||Moscow State Institute of International Relations|
Middlesex University London Business School
Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Sükhbaataryn Batbold (Mongolian: Сүхбаатарын Батболд, born June 24, 1963) is a Mongolian politician who was Prime Minister of Mongolia from 2009 to 2012, as well as Chairman of the Mongolian People's Party. He was previously Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government of his predecessor, Sanjaagiin Bayar.
As all Mongolians, he goes by one name, given at his birth, Batbold. Sukhbaatar is his father's name and Sukhbaataryn literally means "son of Sukhbaatar". So, Sukhbaatar is used as the last name in the Western style documents and Batbold as his first name. Because of this, he may also be recognized as Sukhbaatar Batbold or just Batbold.
Personal life and education
Batbold was born in far eastern province Dornod of Mongolia to parents who worked as medical doctors in the provincial hospital. As a child Batbold, graduated the 14th high school in Ulaanbaatar, going on to study in Russia at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, one of the most prestigious educational establishments in the former Eastern bloc, between 1980 and 1986. He was one of the first Mongolians to be given an opportunity to receive an education in the West and studied at the Middlesex University London Business School from 1989 till 1991, residing at Netherhall House. He also earned a doctoral degree at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Moscow in 2002.
Batbold previously held an executive position at Mongol Impex Cooperative. In 1992, he established Altai Trading Co. Ltd. (currently Altai Holding LLC), which among others owns the Chinggis Khaan Hotel, Altai Cashmere, E-mart Mongolia hypermarket chain and the Skytel cellular operator. He headed the company until 2000 by which time it became one of the largest Mongolian private companies. After Mongolia started a transition from the one-party authoritarian rule to market economy and democracy, he was one of the first Mongolians to start a private business and grow it to a large corporation. Among all of his businesses, only Chinggus Khaan Hotel was bought from the government at the auction in 1994 as a half finished building in complete ruin, which was completed and served as a flagship hotel till 2016 when Shangri-la entered Mongolia. All other businesses were created from the scratch and introduced new standards of service and competence.
Batbold entered Mongolian politics in 2000, by which time he was already an established and well-known businessman. He was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2004 and became a member of the Leadership Council of the Mongolians People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) in 2001. During his term as a Deputy Foreign Minister a decision was taken by Mongolia to contribute forces to multinational force in Iraq and Afghanistan (https://www.everycrsreport.com/files/20140903_R41867_27863dd4cab95d3ac35bf0f58237d6b3f7211296.html). He was instrumental in negotiating a visa regime with the USA under which the USA citizens became exempt from Mongolian visa requirements and Mongolian citizens became eligible for 10-year multiple entry visas.
Batbold held the Ulan Bator 75 constituency in the 2004 Mongolian Great Khural election. He then became Cabinet Minister of Trade and Industry between 2004 and 2006. As Minister of Trade and Industry, he contributed actively to the implementation of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States, establishing an ongoing dialogue to help remove barriers to trade between the United States and Mongolia. Also during his term as Minister of Trade and Industry Mongolia was awarded GSP Plus system of trade preferences by the European Union which allowed for preferential access for more than 7000 export items from Mongolia. <>. As cabinet minister, he also proposed for the first time in Mongolia the special tax and regulatory treatment for small and medium businesses by proposing a special legislation to the Parliament.
In the 2008 Great Khural election, Batbold won a seat for the MPRP in the Ulan Bator 23 constituency in the same location of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar as during previous elections. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2008 until he was nominated to become Prime Minister in 2009. During his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he hosted United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Ulan Bator to discuss the topic of climate change in Mongolia. Batbold also substituted for then Prime Minister Bayar at a Prime Ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Prime Minister and Chairman of Mongolian People's Party
On October 29, 2009, Batbold was elected as the 26th Prime Minister of Mongolia, succeeding Sanjaa Bayar, who resigned due to health reasons. Batbold received 62 of 66 votes cast by Members of the Mongolian Parliament.
On the 8th of April 2010, Batbold became the Chairman of the MPRP. This was confirmed with an election at the 26th MPRP Congress. During the Party Congress, Batbold was one of three proposed candidates for leadership, the others being Parliament Speaker Demberel Damdin and MP U.Enkhtuvshin. After D.Demberel withdrew his name from the list of candidates, voting continued until 4:30am, ending with Batbold winning a majority of 85% (675 votes from 788 voters).
During the same party conference it was also decided that the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party would revert to its original name, the Mongolian People's Party. (http://en.people.cn/90001/90777/90851/7190654.html; https://montsame.mn/en/read/262575) The name change was proposed by S.Batbold as chairman and Secretary-General of the party Ukhnaa Khurelsukh and signified full transition to the social-democratic values by the Mongolian People's Party. Before 1990, successive leaders of MPRP ruled Mongolia under one-party totalitarian regime and this is the only party among the former communist camp that managed to stay competitive in the new democratic system by transiting to social-democratic values along the line of German Social Democrats and British Labor.
As Prime Minister, Batbold oversaw a number of notable developments.
His cabinet supported the enactment of the Law on Gender Equality in 2011. The law was significant in legislating the notions of legally punishing work place harassment, introducing women's quota in political election nominations, etc.
The reform and modernisation of the Mongolian Stock Exchange was initiated and its Board was filled with respectable independent members for the first time in its history such as Peter Morrow, an American who was one of the most influential figure in establishing the Mongolia's private banking system and Baatar Bold, a Mongolian with many years of experience in international banking and is currently one of the top executives of Rio Tinto, among others. The Board worked closely with London Stock Exchange to reform MSE’s systems. This was the first time in the history of state-owned companies in Mongolia that the board was composed of independent directors outside of government.
The cabinet launched of a collaboration between the Government of Mongolia and a Cambridge University consortium to introduce Cambridge International Education system into Mongolia's public schools and reform primary and secondary education in Mongolia. This was one of the most far reaching educational reform efforts since the 1990s in Mongolia.
Human Development Fund was established that not only paid cash dividends to the public but funded education, health and social insurance. It sought to emulate the experiences of Singapore's Central Provident Fund.
In 2010, Batbold held a cabinet meeting (https://asiafoundation.org/2010/09/01/mongolia-cabinet-meets-in-gobi-desert-to-make-stand-against-global-warming/) in the Gobi desert to draw attention to climate change and the growing threat of desertification in Mongolia.
During his term as Prime Minister, the Mongolian economy grew by 17.5 percent in 2011, one of the highest globally. The poverty rates fell by double digits and household income doubled. This achievement cannot be solely attributed to high mineral prices, as there have been even higher prices before and since his cabinet. Progressive policies that encouraged economic growth and at the same time sought to address social issues at the time of difficult transition were the main reason of such impressive results.
When he visited Canada in 2010 he told to Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper that Canada can serve as a role model for Mongolia because of similarities in resource endowments, sparse population, big territory and most importantly in democratic values and development models. This visit sparked exchanges between the two countries in different areas, including efforts to reform the public service along the Canadian example. These efforts culminated in adoption of the revised Law of Civil Service in 2017 by the Parliament of Mongolia. The revised law introduces concepts of minimum required years of service for promotion, increased the independence and powers of Civil Service Commission of Mongolia, tightened merit based requirements for initial recruitment.
Batbold also sought to initiate a transition to "European standards" which he defined as "not only commodities’ and physical’ standards, but also new standards related to laws and regulations, technologies and mindsets, as well as to culture and lifestyle." He proposed in his speech to the Parliament in 2009 as he was taking over as Prime Minister:
"We can learn from our traditional partners’ experiences where they have recently joined the European Union and enjoy the benefits of such new standards. In bringing up their standards they neither re-invent the wheel nor did they re-write laws according to one person’s wishes. What they did was to choose one standard to be followed, starting with changing road standards to adopting anti-corruption laws to suit local conditions and specifics. I believe this is where their successes have come from."
This was a remarkable statement of intention by the country located on a different continent from the European Union to self-adopt its norms and principles on a voluntary and unilateral basis in the absence of any incentives from the European Union. The EU offered its Eastern European Partners (mostly former Soviet republics), as a part of Eastern Partnership initiative, a road towards greater integration with potential of joining the union in accordance with a mutually agreed path of democratic reform and market openness (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/er/107589.pdf). Mongolia, obviously geographically distanced, wasn't part of this initiative, however, it was initiating the "European standards" reforms without any intention or hope of joining the EU but because it saw a value in itself in those reforms. Batbold discussed this initiative when he hosted German Chancellor Merkel in Mongolia (https://archiv.bundesregierung.de/archiv-en/articles/chancellor-angela-merkel-in-viet-nam-and-mongolia-610742).
Batbold hosted many other world dignitaries in Mongolia such as US Vice President Joseph Biden (https://www.rferl.org/a/biden_offers_us_support_for_democratic_mongolia/24304215.html; https://www.mongoliaweekly.org/post/why-mongolia-matters-to-joe-biden) and State Secretary Hillary Clinton (https://www.eastwestcenter.org/system/tdf/private/apb174_0.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=33606; https://2009-2017.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2009a/06/124494.htm).
At the same time, Batbold's cabinet adhered to the traditional foreign policy of Mongolia to maintain and strengthen relations with its only two neighbors, Russia and China. He visited Russia in 2010 and met with then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He also visited China in 2011 and held negotiations with his counterpart China's Premier Wen Jiabao  and then Vice President and current President of China Xi Jingpin (https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-06/17/content_12726117.htm). During his time as Prime Minister trade with the two neighbors grew in unprecedented speed.
Batbold's term as Prime Minister saw a remarkable degree of high level visits and exchanges with the country's most significant foreign partners such as Japan (https://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/mongolia/batbold_1203/index.html), South Korea (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20110324000949&mod=skb), India (https://news.mn/en/18350/), Australia (https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F577185%22), Singapore (https://www.mfa.gov.sg/Newsroom/Press-Statements-Transcripts-and-Photos/2011/02/Official-Visit-by-Prime-Minister-of-Mongolia-Sukhbaatar-Batbold-1718-February-2011) among many others.
Overall, this policy of maintaining balanced and cooperative relations with the immediate two neighbors and perceived Third neighbors (the term invented by State Secretary James Baker when he visited Mongolia in 1990 with whom Mongolia shares common democratic values) has been maintained consistently since the 1990s transition to democracy and market relations.
Ideologically, Batbold is a Third way politician along the lines of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schroeder whose views were very much market based on economics and centrist on social issues, which put them to the right from traditional social democratic views.
Continued Political Involvement
Since the end of his term as Prime Minister in 2012, Batbold has remained a Member of Parliament. He is a member of Mongolia's delegation for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly.
He is Vice President of the Socialist International, an international organization registered at the United Nations (whose current Secretary-General António Guterres was Vice President of the Socialist International from 1999 till 2005), that brings together parties around the world on the social democratic platform.
Mr. S.Batbold is a strong supporter of public policy based on knowledge-based research and public debate. Therefore, he is one of the founders of Mongolia Economic Forum and Mongolian Development Strategy Institute, both dedicated to encouraging deeper public policy research and more open debate. He serves as Chairman of the Mongolia Development Strategy Institute, think-tank which hosts international events and undertakes research on public policy issues with significant impact on Mongolia's development trajectory. The institute co-hosted such prestigious international events as Williamsburg Conference in 2007, Northeast Asia Regional Meeting of the Asia Pacific Leadership network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament in 2017, Boao Forum for Asia Ulaanbaatar Conference in 2019, Regional Energy Workshop in 2019 among others. It board members and contributors published many books and articles on Mongolia's developmental challenges, trade and diplomacy, security, history, environment and governance.
In November 2014, Batbold was elected to membership in the MPP Chamber of Advisers and in December 2015 he once again joined the MPP Leadership Council. After winning a Parliamentary seat for fifth time in 2020, Batbold was elected chairman of the Great Khural Subcommittee on Special Oversight.
He was named by the party officials as one of the potential candidates for the June 2021 Presidential elections by Mongolian People's Party (https://news.mn/en/794529/) and was nominated by some local party entities. As a result he was target of smear campaign orchestrated by political opponents (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-10/mongolian-president-accused-of-smearing-political-foe-as-corrupt.
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