Former martial arts star Battulga wins Mongolian presidential polls

ULAANBAATAR: Populist former martial arts star and businessman Khaltmaa Battulga has won Mongolia’s presidential run-off election, according to voter data from the general election commission released on Saturday.

The poll was seen as a referendum on the government’s economic recovery plans and the role of China in the landlocked but resource-rich country.

Battulga won with 50.6% of the vote on a 60.9% turnout, giving him the majority over his opponent, parliament speaker Miyeegombo Enkhbold of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party.

Election officials are still, however, waiting on a final count of votes from abroad.

Battulga rose to fame as a Mongolian wrestler. His businesses include a hotel, a Genghis Khanthemed amusement park, and food companies for baked goods and meats.

He captured the attention of voters who feel Mongolia received a bad deal on investments, promising greater government control of strategic mines, such as Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.

The Mongolian government is run by a prime minister, but the president has powers to veto legislation and make judicial appointments.

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