What is Article 6.2 and why is there a controversy regarding it in Mongolia?
There is this controversy going on the amended Article 6.2 of the Constitution of Mongolia. The previous Article 6.2 stated:
The land, except that in private ownership of the citizens of Mongolia, as well as the land subsoil, forests, water resources, and fauna shall be the property of the State.
Last year there were several Amendments to the Constitution. The controversy stems from one additional word in the Article 6.2:
The land, except that in private ownership of the citizens of Mongolia, as well as the land subsoil, forests, water resources, and fauna shall be the common property of the State. (my translation)
Last year, several small parties capitalized on one word to make protests. They allege that changing from property of the state to the common property of the state, the big parties are trying to sneak in new provisions of the law. They would use this Article to allow foreign companies and other entities to privatize the land.
In Mongolia a foreign person/company cannot own the land, they can lease or get permission for exploration/extraction of minerals. I wrote in more detail here:
The legal scholars on the other hand point out that the protests do not make sense as the next article clearly states that only citizens of Mongolia can own land. The word common comes from the 1996’s Law on State and Local State Properties (Төрийн болон орон нутгийн өмчийн тухай хууль). There is a distinction in terminology between State common property(Төрийн нийтийн өмч)and State property (Төрийн өөрийн өмч)
State common property- all the land, mineral resources etc., are the property of the people and is managed by the state.
State property, on the other hand, is the state property, such as, government buildings, state companies etc.
The reason these two are differentiated is because the state property, such as, state companies can be sold, rented etc. They can be sold to Mongolian or foreign companies. That is not the case with the State Common Property.