Mongolia releases hunger striking former president

Nambaryn Enkhbayar -- the former Mongolian president who left power in 2009 -- has been released from prison on bail after a 10-day hunger strike.

Ulan Bator: Mongolia's capital has seen recent human rights protests

The Financial Times reports the release has momentarily ended a standoff in the mineral-rich country, with protests by human rights activists and supporters of Mr Enkhbayar in Mongolia’s capital city Ulan Bator put on pause.

Corruption charges

Mr Enkhbayar had been planning to run for parliament in the 28 June national elections before his arrest on corruption charges. He is the head of an independent party that he founded, which, according to local polling, is Mongolia’s third most popular.

Mr Enkhbayar was forcibly arrested on 13 April after failing to appear for questioning and charged with five instances of corrupt behaviour, according to Mongolia’s anti-corruption watchdog. It is reported that the allegations represent the highest-level corruption case that Mongolia has ever seen.

Precious minerals

Despite vast deposits of precious minerals such as gold and copper, Mongolia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The International Monetary Fund ranks Mongolia at 119th in terms of per capita gross domestic product, just below Morocco.
The satisfaction with ruling parties is therefore low among voters, who list unemployment, poverty and inflation as their top concerns, according to the FT report.

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