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Mongolian Presidential Election Held Amid Mining Debate


A child looks at a man as he votes at a polling station during the presidential election in Bayanchandmani on June 26.

A child looks at a man as he votes at a polling station during the presidential election in Bayanchandmani on June 26.

Voters in Mongolia have gone to the polls to choose a president, with the wealth gap and mining revenue topping the debate.

The vote pits the front-running incumbent, President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, against a champion wrestler and the first woman to run for the post.

Voter turnout was 43 percent by midafternoon -- about the same as in the last presidential vote.

Fighting corruption was a top issue during campaigning.

Many Mongolians feel they have not benefited from the country's mining boom.

Mongolia's mineral wealth, including gold, copper, and coal, has spurred strong economic growth, but also contributed to inflation and a greater divide between the rich and poor.

Many Mongolians also oppose giving foreign firms the right to do the mining.

During campaigning, Elbegdorj highlighted his political origins as a leader of the 1990 protests that ended 70 years of one-party communist rule.

His challengers accused him of shielding members of his ruling party from corruption investigations.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa
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