Enkhbayar joined the MPRP in the 1980s while Mongolia was still governed as an extension of the Soviet Union. After the MPRP won the nation's first democratic elections in 1990, Enkhbayar became the deputy head of Mongolia's Cultural Development Committee before stepping into the role of minister of culture, a post he held from 1992 to 1996. In 1996, he took over as the secretary general of the MPRP, and, in 1997, became the party's chairman, a position he currently holds.
After the MPRP achieved an unprecedented victory in the parliamentary elections of 2000, winning 72 of 76 seats, Enkhbayar was elected prime minister by a unanimous vote. He has held the office since 26 July 2000.