SHANGHAI—Mongolian authorities on Friday arrested a former president on corruption charges, threatening fresh political instability for one of the world's fastest-growing economies ahead of elections.
Enkhbayar Nambar was arrested in a dawn raid of a compound where his bodyguards clashed with police, law enforcement officials said, according to the Associated Press. The AP said authorities sought to detain him Thursday, but the effort was foiled by bodyguards who pulled Mr. Enkhbayar into the compound for the night.
Efforts to reach Mr. Enkhbayar through his political party were unsuccessful. Officials from the anticorruption agency who announced his arrest to local media were also unreachable.
The arrest of 53-year-old Mr. Enkhbayar, one of Mongolia's best-known politicians, comes roughly two months before Mongolians go to the polls in June to elect the 76 members of parliament to represent the country's 3.1 million citizens.
Mongolia has developed a vibrant democracy since it turned its back on communism and held its first multiparty elections in 1990. But elections have produced topsy-turvy results that often affected policy-making. After a 2008 vote gave a majority to then-president Mr. Enkhbayar's party, deadly riots broke out in Ulan Bator over accusations it was rigged.
Mr. Enkhbayar was himself unseated in elections a year later. A writer schooled in both Russia and the U.K., he had previously been speaker of the parliament and prime minister. He gained those positions representing a party that had its roots in the old communist system, and which is today allied with Mongolia's current prime minister, Sukhbaatar Batbold, and opposed to the current president, Elbegdorj Tsakhia. Mr. Enkhbayar recently formed a third party and said he would contest a parliament seat in June.
His arrest "adds to the perceived risk that Mongolia has," said Dale Choi, chief investment strategist at Frontier Securities in the capital of Ulan Bator.read more