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Mongolia lifts emergency rule

BBC News - July 5, 2009

The Mongolian government has lifted a state of emergency imposed after riots hit the capital Ulan Bator on Tuesday. Five people died and hundreds were hurt in protests over alleged fraud in a general election vote last Sunday.

Early indications suggest that the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) won a majority of seats. But the opposition Democratic Party says there were irregularities. It has demanded a recount and some local people fear further violence.

In a televised address, Mongolian President Nambariin Enkhbayar called for unity. "We can discuss the situation lawfully without violence," he said.

International observers have said that the election was free and fair. Official results are not expected until Monday at the earliest, but preliminary results indicate that the MPRP has taken at least 46 of the available seats in parliament.

The violence was a rare occurrence in Mongolia and this was the first time that emergency rule had been imposed. There were reports of widespread looting and the headquarters of the MPRP were set on fire.

Observers say protests were exacerbated by tensions over corruption and a growing rich-poor divide.

Justice Minister Tsend Munkhorgil told reporters that the country was going through a "difficult period of political and economic transition where all parties need to harmonise and agree on some basic norms".

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