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Deliberative Polling® Leads to New Constitutional Amendment in Mongolia

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Mongolian flags around the State Great Khural, or parliament building, in central Ulaanbaatar at dusk. Photo: Kokkai Ng / Getty Images

Deliberative Polling® Leads to New Constitutional Amendment in Mongolia

Deliberative Polling®, a process pioneered by Stanford’s Deliberative Democracy Lab (in the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL)), has been used successfully for the second time to help change the Constitution of Mongolia. Since 2017, Deliberative Polling® has been legally required before the State Great Hural (the Parliament) can consider a proposed constitutional amendment. The first Amendment adopted with assistance of this process was passed by the Parliament in 2017 following a national Deliberative Poll that same year. In 2023, a new national sample of nearly 800 citizens, a stratified random sample of citizens from throughout the country, gathered for a long weekend to deliberate about proposed amendment topics. The sample was selected by the National Statistical Office (who also do the Census). This highly representative national sample gathered in the Government Palace (the seat of government in Ulaanbaatar). The topics were gathered from about 600 suggestions from experts and about 500 suggestions from the public, civil society and professional organizations from around the country. They were then screened by the Deliberative Council, an independent non-partisan body required by the “Law on Deliberative Polling.” The actual deliberations took place from February 14-15, 2023.

Two of the proposals that ended with very high support at the end of the deliberations provided a clear basis for the amendment. One was to expand the size of the Parliament (in order to increase its capacity to represent the public), and the other was to adopt a mixed electoral system, combining majority districts with proportional representation. Expanding the size of the Parliament had support from 82% of the participants who had an opinion for or against the proposal. Adopting a mixed electoral system for the Parliament (with both majority districts and proportional representation) ended with 71% support from those deliberators who had an opinion for or against the proposal by the end of the proceedings. The amendment successfully increased the representation in the Parliament from a total of 76 members elected by majority vote in districts to a total of 126 members with 78 elected by majority vote in districts and 48 elected by proportional representation. Subsequently, the quota for female candidates in the parliamentary elections of 2024 was raised to 30%, with plans to further increase it up to 40% by 2028.

Press release from CDDRL


For more information, contact:

Professor James Fishkin, Director, Deliberative Democracy Lab, Stanford University

Dr. Alice Siu, Associate Director, Deliberative Democracy Lab, Stanford University

Enkh-Undram Bayartogtokh, Chief of Staff, Office of the Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia

Nora Sulots, Communications Manager, Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University