Mongolian Makeover

The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party doesn't look like a bunch of stodgy communists. At recent rallies, candidates were flanked by funky rappers and an all-female band called the Lipsticks. But they did play on 76 years of experience, promising to end poverty and create jobs. Mongolians responded with a thunderous "yes!" and last week voted the ex-communists back into office.

A peaceful revolution in 1990 brought democracy and hope to Mongolia. But the Democratic Union that toppled the MPRP in the 1996 election was plagued by infighting. And when it came to corruption, says Clyde Goulden, a consultant in Mongolia, "the democratic coalition didn't seem to have boundaries."

MPRP leader Nambaryn Enkhbayar is likely to slow privatization and renegotiate an IMF aid package. "We have tried to get rid of the extreme-left position and move towards the center," Enkhbayar, who studied in Britain, told NEWSWEEK. "We have to [appeal] to the young people." A dose of good government would help, too.