(ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia) — Preliminary election results show the Mongolian People’s Party retaining a strong parliamentary majority, winning 62 of 76 seats, as the landlocked U.S. ally sandwiched between Russia and China seeks to retain its democratic traditions amid economic woes.
The main opposition Democratic Party won 11 seats, while three others were taken by independents and coalitions, the General Election Commission reported on Thursday.
Wednesday’s polls were held amid considerable success in the country’s fight against the coronavirus, with just 215 cases of COVID-19 recorded. All of them were imported and no one has died.
People lining up to vote in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, were required to maintain a distance of 2 meters (6.5 feet) between them. Once inside the polling place, election workers checked their temperatures and distributed hand sanitizer.
Economic malaise, corruption and weak public services dominated concerns among the country’s 3.2 million people, about half of whom live in Ulaanbaatar.
Turnout was more than 73% among the country’s 2 million eligible voters.
Mongolia has maintained a nearly 30-year democracy instituted after a new constitution was adopted in 1992 following six decades of communism.
The MPP’s majority is down slightly from the 65 seats it won in 2016’s election for the State Great Khural. Some scattered rural communities had yet to report their results, but that was not expected to have a significant impact on the final outcome.