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Why Democracy Matters?
KAS PDA: Why do you think democratic values and principles are important for your country?
Ms. Jargalan Batbayar: In the western cold winter of 1989, thousands and thousands of Mongolians mostly young people marched and rallied in the street of Ulaanbaatar City in order to bring change and freedom to our nation. Today, we celebrate this anniversary and reaffirm our commitment to democracy and democratic values for thirty years. We worked hard to build inclusive democratic institutions and several generations of young people, including myself, had the privilege of growing up in a free society. I would say that democratic values are quite central to the nomadic heritage of the Mongols as a people and freedom remain an important concept for us. In this respect, we must not lose what we have fought so hard to achieve and remain a liberal democracy in a region dominated by authoritarian states.
KAS PDA: In your context, what do you think are the main challenges to democracy?
Ms. Jargalan Batbayar: In today’s globalized world, we all face the same challenges. Corruption, populism, fake news, lack of faith in political parties and democratic institutions – these are headlines that are making the news all over the world. But I think underneath it all, it all comes down to two things: one is economic opportunity for everyone, and the other one is rule of law. In today’s globalized economy, economic inequality has become a common feature, and people are not happy with this new status quo. Also, we need the rule of law – this means human rights, judicial independence, free and fair elections, transparent government – all the institutions that are needed to make the democratic process work.
KAS PDA: As a young leader, what can you do to ensure that you become and remain a democratic leader?
Ms. Jargalan Batbayar: Democracy is always a process, and I think it is important to remember that the end does not always justify the means, however altruistic it may be. Being a democratic leader means being an inclusive leader, and it is important to keep sight of the democratic process when we face difficult decisions. This is a lifelong commitment for us, and it’s always a work in progress. Also, political leadership is always about public service, and we must never forget that we work to serve our people.
Disclaimer: This interview excerpt is taken from the ADLA Video Series 2020 project which aims to seek for answers on the question "Why Democracy Matters?" from the KASYP alumni country representatives. The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed are those of the interviewee do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Any insights expressed in this content do not intend to hurt any individual, community, or organization.