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UPDATE 4-Mongolia ruling party wins vote-spokesman

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ULAN BATOR, July 3 (Reuters) - The ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has won parliamentary elections by a landslide, preliminary results showed on Thursday, after charges of election cheating sparked violence killing five people.

The MPRP took 47 seats out of 76 in the Great Hural, a decisive victory in Sunday’s vote, General Election Committee spokesman Nergui told Reuters, as Mongolian authorities cleared away debris in the streets left by the deadly riots earlier in the week.

The opposition Democratic Party had won 26 seats, and the remaining seats were divided between minor parties, Nergui said.

If the opposition concedes defeat, the result would raise hopes for stability after a four-year period of fractious coalition rule that has undermined economic growth and held up long-delayed mining deals seen as key to lifting the windswept Central Asian nation out of poverty.

“These are preliminary results, but official results will be announced tomorrow,” Nergui said.

Mongolia’s President Nambariin Enkhbayar declared a four-day state of emergency late on Tuesday after the Democratic Party alleged election fraud, sparking sparking riots that left 220 civilians and 108 servicemen injured in addition to the dead.

About 700 protesters have been detained.

International observers say the vote was largely fair.

The Mongolian Justice Ministry vowed a swift investigation into the deaths, three of which were caused by gunshot wounds, and indicated that police were culpable.

“Where these bullets came from is a matter of investigation, Justice Minister Monkh-Orgil told reporters at a briefing in the capital Ulan Bator on Thursday.

“The investigation of homicide crimes will be carried out by prosecutors because of the possible involvement of police. That way we make sure the investigation is independent,” he said.

In an apparent attempt to placate the Democratic Party, Monkh-Orgil denied the opposition was responsible for Tuesday’s violence and said the rioting had been premeditated.

“Judging by the reaction of the crowd and the rioters, there was a rather organised supply of flammable materials and stones,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, parliament convened an extraordinary session to decide how to move forward after the violence.

“The parliament has debated the declaration of the state of emergency by the president and has approved it,” said parliament speaker Lundeejantsan in remarks carried on state television.

Both major parties would issue a joint declaration condemning the violence, Minister Monkh-Orgil said later.

CAPITAL CALM

On Thursday, calm prevailed in Ulan Bator, where authorities had already cleared 40 tonnes of debris from city streets.

The Justice Ministry said it saw no need to extend the state of emergency after it ends on Saturday.

“Life is steadily coming back to normal. Military equipment has been moved from the city and traffic restrictions have been lifted,” Monkh-Orgil said.

The parliamentary election was the fifth since Mongolia broke free of decades of Soviet influence in 1990.

Parliament speaker Lundeejantsan also spoke of a need to form a government in order to move forward with the country’s business, in particular tackling decade-high inflation and easing the poverty blamed in part for the rioting.

“Society has been agitated for the last two years because of corruption and because of the situation of poor people,” said Chuluundorj, a retired diplomat.

The deadlock threatens to further hold up major deals that could unlock vast reserves of copper, coal, uranium and other resources beneath the country’s vast steppes and deserts.

The biggest project at stake is at Oyu Tolgoi, also known as Turquoise Hill, backed by Ivanhoe Mines IVN.TO of Canada and Rio Tinto RIO.AXRIO.L.

The two companies propose to spend up to $3 billion developing the field, which they say could raise Mongolia’s GDP by more than a third. (Writing and additional reporting by Ian Ransom, Lindsay Beck, Ben Blanchard and Guo Shipeng in Beijing; Editing by Benjamin Kang Lim, Jerry Norton and Alex Richardson)

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