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In Mongolia's organizational pyramid, government beneath the
national level was carried out by assemblies of people's deputies
operating in the eighteen aymags and the three provinciallevel autonomous cities (hots), sometimes called "republic
cities." In the late 1980s, each aymag continued to be
divided into about thirty somons; towns and population
centers within a somon were apportioned into "districts
and districts-in-cities." Each of these administrative divisions
had its corresponding governing assembly of people's deputies.
Some continuity between the Mongolian People's Republic and the
traditional Mongolian political culture was provided in
preserving the terms aymag, which was a fifteenth-century
word for a tribal unit, and somon, which was the
traditional basic-level administrative unit
(see Pastoral Nomadism
, ch. 2). Aymags were established on the basis of
geographic boundaries, ethnic groupings, economic conditions,
population density, and convenience of administrative control.
Somons were the basic units of administration within
aymags, and they were where the greatest interaction
between government and the people took place.
Deputies to the local assemblies are elected for three-year
terms, according to the Constitution. In June 1987, a total of
15,967 deputies were elected to local assemblies, by the usual
99.98 percent of the vote cast. Regular sessions of aymag
and autonomous municipal assemblies convened at least twice a
year. Sessions of somon and district assemblies were
convoked at least three times a year. Each local assembly elected
presidiums to administer the government between sessions of the
assemblies. Presidiums were composed of a chairman, a deputy
chairman, a secretary, and members who included party
functionaries and local luminaries residing in the administrative
Within their respective jurisdictions, the assemblies and
their presidiums were responsible for directing "economic and
cultural-political construction," for supervising the economic
and cooperative organizations, for confirming and implementing
the economic plan and local budgets, for ensuring the observance
of laws, and for making certain that all citizens were fully
involved in the work of the state. Superior assemblies of
people's deputies were empowered to "change or repeal" decisions
of lower assemblies and their presidiums.
Procurators and courts also functioned at the local levels.
Local procurators were appointed by the state procurator for
three-year terms, and they were subordinate "only to the superior
procurator" in the system. Courts were elected by deputies of the
corresponding assemblies of people's deputies, also for threeyear terms; precinct-level courts were formed by direct elections
and by secret ballot for three-year terms.
Data as of June 1989