Battulga Khaltmaa, President of Mongolia (since Jul 10, 2017)
Khaltmaagiin Battulga (born 3 March 1963) is a Mongolian politician and President of Mongolia. He served as Member of the State Great Khural from 2004 to 2016 and Minister of Roads, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development from 2008 to 2012. He was the Democratic Party’s candidate in the 2017 presidential election, and was elected President with 50.6% in the run-off, the first ever run-off election in modern Mongolian history.
Battulga is a second child. His father and mother are both from Ulaanbaatar. The family was allocated a traditional “ger” in Yarmag ger district in Ulaanbaatar after they lost everything in the flood of Tuul River in 1966. Hence, Battulga grew up in the streets of Yarmag and went to a local secondary school. When he graduated from 8th grade, his teacher recommended that he apply to an arts school given his talents. Battulga graduated in 1982. While studying at the Arts School, Battulga sold his paintings to tourists around Bayangol Hotel area, learning sufficient English to help sell his artwork.
His father was a coach of Mongolian traditional wrestling and thus Battulga grew up wrestling. Battulga was a member of the Mongolian National wrestling team in 1979-1990. Battulga won the world cup championship in Ulaanbaatar in 1989. Wrestling allowed Battulga to travel internationally at a period, when travel abroad for Mongolians was not allowed. Battulga was awarded an Merited Sportsmen of Mongolia in 1995, thereafter being selected as the Chairman of Mongolian Judo Federation in 2006. Under Battulga’s leadership at the Judo Federation, Mongolian judokas became Olympic Champions for the first time in history.
In 1990, Battulga started sewing and selling jeans locally and in Hungary. This allowed him to make $600, sufficient to buy a video camera and to start an export-import business trading electronics from Singapore to Mongolia, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Battulga, like many others of his generation was fascinated with The Godfather movie. Thus, he named his first company Genco. This nickname has stuck with him ever since.
Genco acquired controlling interests during the privatization of state-owned assets such as Bayangol Hotel and meat-processing factory Makh-Impex in 1997 and 1999 respectively. In the 1990s Genco group started one of the first taxi businesses in Mongolia called City Taxi, retail store operations under Sapporo name, lottery business, restaurant and night club operations, flour milling and bread making factory Talkh Chikher LLC.
Elbegdorj Tsakhia, Former President of Mongolia
Born on March 30, 1963, as the youngest of eight sons of a herders’ family in Zereg soum of Khovd province, President Elbegdorj completed his primary and secondary education in his native province. In early 80s the Tsakhia family moved to Erdenet, the third largest city of Mongolia, where President Elbegdorj attended high school. Upon graduation, President Elbegdorj joined the Erdenet Copper Mine as a laborer and material mover in one of the mine’s workshops until he was drafted into the People’s Army in 1982. In the army President Elbegdorj headed the Revolutionary Youth League, which, in fact, was the first formal political entity for him to lead.
The Army was a store of food for thought. Excellence and diligence in the Army service earned President Elbegdorj a possibility to study journalism, military science and political theory in the Institute of Military and Political Science in L’vov, Ukraine. Five years in the USSR left indelible imprints in the mind of a young student. Here he first heard of Perestroika and Glasnost, first shared the spirit of freer and more liberal values openly, and here he first drafted a free newspaper in a student community. Although a part of the USSR, this westernmost city at the border with Poland was already being influenced by western thought.
After graduation from the Institute in 1988, President Elbegdorj returned to Mongolia and became a staff reporter for the Army newspaper “Ulaan Od” (“Red Star”). At the same time he headed the Army Literature Unit. His articles, journalistic essays and remarks revealed and harshly criticized the brutalities associated with “year difference” or seniority among privates in the Mongolian Army. He was determined in his fight to safeguard lives and health of Mongolian soldiers. Yet the struggle was not confined to soldiers only. It turned into a struggle for democracy, human dignity and social prosperity.
In 1989 together with the friends of common beliefs and values and despite strong pressures and constant watch of communist rulers, President Elbegdorj established the Mongolian Democratic Union, the very first public organization to embrace democratic values and ignite democratic transformations in the society at large. He opened the first ever pro-democracy demonstration on December 10, 1989. In early 1990s he rallied and traveled through Mongolia’s vast territory advocating democracy and calling for greater freedom in political, economic and social life which shattered the legacy of the country’s longstanding harsh system at once.
The struggle for democracy and human rights, started with the few young men, evolved as a major societal revolution leading to a total replacement of the political order of this country in the very heart of the Asian continent. Mongolia stood up as a fresh, bold, determined and diligent democracy. This was truly a phenomenon for a time when communism was still intact in the neighboring USSR and China.
Elected to the People’s Ikh Hural (Congress) and the Baga Hural (first permanent Parliament) of Mongolia in the 1990, President Elbegdorj was one of the authors of Mongolia’s new Constitution adopted in January, 1992. The Constitution, embodying the core values and beliefs of the Mongolian people, has become the unshattered guarantee of the choice of the Mongolian people, freedom and justice.
President Elbegdorj’s service to the nation in 1990-2008, twice as the Prime Minister (1998, 2004-2006), the vice Speaker of the Parliament (1996-1998), the majority leader of the Parliament (1996-2000) and four times as the Member of the Parliament (1990, 1992, 1996 and 2008), is a path of a builder, leader and consolidator of the powerhouse of democracy and market economy.
While firmly advancing Mongolia’s political reform agenda, President Elbegdorj was a key mover of the major economic reforms – economic liberalization policies, privatization, tax reforms, administrative overhaul, combating corruption, and a host of other robust reform initiatives and programs were carried out under his leadership.
Human dignity, clean governance and free media have been dear to the heart of President Elbegdorj. He established and has supported a host of organizations and institutions in the edifice of Mongolian democracy, without which human rights and liberties, and social justice are inconceivable. The President works to exterminate any forms of corrupt practices, and has led Mongolia to join the global anti-corruption efforts.
The Harvard University graduate President Elbegdorj and the First Lady Khajidsuren Bolormaa are happy parents of five – four boys and a tender girl. President Elbegdorj and First Lady Bolormaa are foster parents to up to several dozens of children who were deprived of parental care and suffered from hardships of life.
President Elbegdorj Tsakhia was elected the President of Mongolia on May 24, 2009 and sworn in on June 18, 2009.