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Last Updated: Monday, 23 May, 2005, 05:00 GMT 06:00 UK
Ex-communists win Mongolia race
MPRP's candidate Nambaryn Enkhbayar casts his vote
Mr Enkhbayar had been widely expected to win
The candidate of Mongolia's former Communist party has won Sunday's presidential election, according to official results.

Nambaryn Enkhbayar polled 53.4% of the more than 900,000 votes cast, thus avoiding the need for a second round of voting.

His main rival, Mendsaikhan Enkhsaikhan of the Democratic Party, polled 20%.

A spokesman for Mr Enkhbayer's Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) called the result "convincing".

Under Mongolia's system of government, the prime minister and parliament hold most real power, while the president's role was designed to be largely ceremonial.

But following disputed parliamentary elections last year, the MPRP and Democratic Party have been forced into a coalition government, which, analysts say, increases the president's influence.

Before the poll, there were rallies in the capital, Ulan Bator, for a more transparent electoral system.

Mongolia is such a small country, we need people to work together
Nambaryn Enkhbayar

Protesters also demonstrated against alleged corruption.

International observers who visited polling stations on Sunday did not report any irregularities.

"We are relieved that nobody cried foul," Tjalling Halbertsma, a campaign advisor to Mr Enkhbayar, told the AFP news agency.

Struggle to rebuild

Turnout in the presidential election was 75%, slightly lower than in the last election.

Mr Enkhbayar, undisputed favourite to win, will take over from outgoing President Natsagiin Bagabandi, also of the MPRP.

Mr Enkhbayar, who was Mongolia's prime minister between 2000 and 2004, said on Monday that his main rival, Mr Enkhsaikhan, had called to congratulate him on his victory.

"He suggested that we work together. I replied that I am really looking forward to working together with all the contenders," Mr Enkhbayar was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

"Mongolia is such a small country, we need people to work together," he said.

Despite robust economic growth, Mongolia still faces deep poverty and social problems.

It is estimated that nearly a third of its 2.5m people live in poverty.

The former client state of the now defunct Soviet Union is also struggling to build itself up after decades of reliance on Moscow.

Why Mongolian elections are unpredictable

Mongolians protest for new poll
29 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Mongolia opposition makes gains
28 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Mongolia
18 Jun 04 |  Country profiles
Daily threat for Mongolia nomads
27 Jul 03 |  From Our Own Correspondent

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