UPDATE 1-Resource-rich Mongolia ousts prime minister amid economic downturn

Wed Nov 5, 2014 3:23am EST
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By Terrence Edwards

ULAN BATOR Nov 5 (Reuters) - Mongolia's parliament voted on Wednesday to remove Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag amid concerns about a serious economic downturn as gold, copper and coal prices and foreign direct investment slump.

Out of 66 members of parliament who voted, 34 were in favour of ousting Altankhuyag, Mongolian television showed. Ten members of parliament, including eight members of his own coalition government, did not show up.

It will now be up to the coalition government to select a new candidate, who will have to be approved by the president and confirmed by parliament.

The government has been in turmoil over the past month, as seven ministers, including the ministers of mining and foreign relations, resigned after Altankhuyag won parliamentary approval to consolidate ministries from 16 down to 13.

That led to calls from the opposition Mongolian People's Party for the prime minister to stand down, and finally people from his own government demanded his resignation.

The political fight has distracted the government of the resource-rich country, landlocked between Russia and China, from passing a budget.

Parliament rejected a budget proposal for the second time on October 31 amid criticism of exorbitant spending and overly optimistic economic projections. Mongolia's Fiscal Stability Law takes full effect next year, which will cap debt at below 40 percent of gross domestic product.   Continued...