Government, protesters reach agreement in Taragai

Argasun Qorchi and Khadagan Daldurkhan

The Presidium of the Central Committee of the Taragaian People’s Revolutionary Party (TPRP) has ousted the nation’s leader in a move forced by the People’s Army. The ouster of Chairman Jirghogadai Tömörbataar, and his subsequent arrest, are a bid to end pro-democracy protests that have been rocking Taragai for the past three months. Argasun Qorchi, previously First Deputy Premier, has taken over as Chairman following a unanimous vote of the Presidium. Hundreds of soldiers from the People’s Army reportedly entered the Presidium chambers on March 24th to force the vote in favor of Qorchi.

Among the first decisions of the new Chairman was the release of pro-democracy leader Khadagan Daldurkhan from prison. The arrest of Daldurkhan on January 4th caused a major escalation in the protests. The uptick in violence and the growing number of protesters caused Otgonbayar Khoriubechi, the commander of the People’s Army, to switch his allegiance to the protesters on February 19th. The subsequent occupation of the capital by the People’s Army led to today’s ouster of Tömörbataar.

Qorchi and Daldurkhan have negotiated a tentative agreement which will allow the introduction of true multi-party democratic elections in Taragai, while still allowing the TPRP to play a role in politics. “This agreement will allow Taragai to join the ranks of the world’s democratic and free nations. This is what we were wanting and hoping for,” Daldurkhan said at a joint press conference with Qorchi to announce the new agreement. Daldurkhan has now urged the protesters to return home “so that life in our beloved country can return to normal” and so that the agreement can be fully implemented. While lengthy negotiations between the government and the opposition on the exact details of the transition remain, both Qorchi and Daldurkhan expressed optimism about the path forward. “I am confident that we can satisfy the desires of Taragai’s people for a greater voice in our governance while also retaining many of the characteristics of our current system,” Qorchi said.

Several obstacles remain to overcome, however. Chaghagan Khoga, the former Director of Internal Security, has fled the capital in the wake of a warrant being issued for his arrest. Khoga is accused of masterminding the initial brutal response to the pro-democracy protests that left hundreds either dead or injured, and also led to scores of arrests. Khoga’s whereabouts are currently unknown. Officials fear that he could become a center of resistance to the transition to democracy among hardline communist holdouts in the country. The emergence of a descendant of the former line of khans to rule the country, Ebegei Qoriqacha, will also pose a challenge to any new government that may arise. Qoriqacha’s supporters have taken control of Gerelma and Menggulig provinces, and Qorchi has accused unnamed foreign powers of supporting her uprising in the west.

Another potential issue that could arise for a new government is foreign relations. Qorchi has ordered several activists with the Milintican Communist Party to be detained and deported, accusing them of conspiring with the now-deposed Tömörbataar. The move has sparked an angry response from many Milinticans, particularly the MCP Premier Neina Arana. Arana labeled Qorchi “a fake communist, a tool of wealthy and capitalist interests and a traitor to his country and people.” Arana also threatened to send supporters to back Khoga should he form a resistance to a new government. The Milintican government so far has not made an official response to the matter. Sources within the Milintican government indicate that President Matōchmizalo is trying to walk a fine line. “His gut instinct is to denounce the previous Taragaian government – and by extension, anyone like Arana who backs it – for its repression of its people. But many Milinticans are angry about the arrest of our citizens by the new government, and already accuse the President of being too weak when it comes to spreading our beliefs around the world. Supporting a government that is arresting and deporting our nationals is a tough sell with an election coming up,” a source close to the President said.

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