Lunchtime seminar – 6 March – Sanchir Jargalsaikhan

February 26th, 2018 by


Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RF

Tuesday 6 March 2018, 1.00–2.00

Sanchir Jargalsaikhan

Visiting Scholar, University College London

Constitutionalism and governance in contemporary Mongolia:
Case of Constitutional amendment

The evolution of modern (1992) Mongolian constitutionalism has been multifaceted and contradictory. Having evolved through a simultaneous need to negate the socialist past and embrace the new global present, the contemporary Mongolian constitutional system exhibits a strong adherence to the limitation of authority (liberal-democratic) while mostly eschewing developmental/social role of the state bar some formalistic expressions. Part I of this article considers fundamental aspects of constitutionalism and governance that have been neglected or have not been articulated well in public discourse. I contend that while it is appropriate to look at the constitutional system as a limited (negative i.e. in Isaiah Berlin sense) mechanism to secure balance of powers, public accountability and good governance, there remain other structural dimensions that are largely ignored. The widespread practice of evaluating the constitution prospectively must be replaced by more critical scholarship that inspects existing constitutional machinery in work. Looking beyond the constitutional text to all those aspects of the normative order (i.e. sector laws, international treaties, court decisions and other mechanisms) that performs different constitutional roles will give us a fuller and critical perspective about evolution of the constitutional order. Part II discusses both implied and explicit narratives surrounding the current discussion and debates around the issue of Constitutional amendment. Multiple documents, speeches, debates and articles will be scrutinized in order to clarify competing narratives about the meaning and function of the Constitution; its development and evolution, people’s perception about the state and its role as well as views concerning the legitimacy of the current ruling class and its ability to push through an amendment. I argue that supposedly neutral technocratic discourse surrounding the Amendment process is being used to depoliticize the process and hence, to keep the status quo of the current socio-political regime. While some view general disinterest and apathy to the amendment process as negation of politics, I view it as more of a resistance. This type of passive resistance is grounded on a suspicion that governance is exercised beyond or “around” the states’ constitutional confines through either supranational or domestic private channels.