November 8, 2007 / 4:59 AM / 13 years ago

CORRECTED - CORRECTED-Mongolia parliament accepts resignation of PM

(Corrects second paragraph to say Sanj Bayar “expected to be chosen”, rather than “chosen as expected”.

ULAN BATOR, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Mongolia’s parliament on Thursday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Miyeegombiin Enkhbold, who handed in his notice after losing the post of ruling party chairman last month.

Current party chief Sanj Bayar was expected to be chosen to replace Enkhbold, promising to reform the once-communist ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and to eradicate corruption.

Enkhbold, elected prime minister in January 2006, was pressed to resign by party peers fed up with a weak government and general loss of confidence in the MPRP, which only has a tiny majority in parliament.

Sanj Bayar said this week there would be a new cabinet once he became prime minister, but a big shake-up was unlikely so close to a general election scheduled for summer 2008.

The MPRP ruled Mongolia for much of the 20th century as a one-party Soviet satellite, but has since embraced market reforms.

Mongolia’s lively democracy has caused valuable mining deals to get bogged down in political discussion.

Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO), which is part-owned by Rio Tinto (RIO.L), says its Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project would increase Mongolia’s gross domestic product by 34 percent.

But parliament has yet to ratify the draft investment agreement, the key hurdle before the Gobi Desert project can go ahead. The deal may clear the way for a raft of other agreements to extract Mongolia’s resources, which include uranium and coal. (Reporting by Irja Halasz and Nick Macfie)

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