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Home The News News Legislators brawl over reform proposals

Legislators brawl over reform proposals

A massive brawl erupted between governing and opposition lawmakers in the main chamber of the legislature in Taipei yesterday over legislative reforms.

President-elect William Lai (賴清德) is to be inaugurated on Monday, but his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost its majority in the legislature and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has been working with the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) to promote their mutual ideas.

The opposition parties said the legislative reforms would enable better oversight of the Executive Yuan, including a proposal to criminalize officials who are deemed to make false statements in the legislature.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Puma Shen falls afer attempting to force his way up the podium to occupy the speaker’s seat at the legislature in Tapei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

“The DPP does not want this to be passed as they have always been used to monopolizing power,” said KMT Legislator Jessica Chen (陳玉珍), wearing a military-style helmet.

The DPP said the KMT and the TPP are improperly trying to force through the proposals without the customary consultation process in what it called “an unconstitutional abuse of power.”

“Why are we opposed? We want to be able to have discussions, not for there to be only one voice in the country,” DPP Legislator Wang Mei-hui (王美惠) said.

Pushing and shoving erupts between governing and oppostion lawmakers outside the legislative chamber in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lo Pei-de, Taipei Times

When the session started yesterday morning, there was pushing and shoving as KMT lawmakers formed defensive walls at the podium to shield Legislative Speaker Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), enabling him to preside over the process for raising motions, reading bills and proceed to a vote.

Even before votes started to be cast, some lawmakers screamed at and shoved each other outside the legislative chamber, before the action moved into the chamber itself.

In chaotic scenes, lawmakers surged around the speaker’s podium, some leaping over tables and pulling colleagues to the floor.

Governing and oppostion lawmakers argue and exchange blows at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters

During the physical altercations, KMT Legislator Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) at one point pulled out a flute and played the national anthem, while Chen blocked the entrance to the podium area and shouted: “I’ll take on 10 of you.”

DPP Legislator Huang Jie (黃捷) protested being “physically handled” by Chen and described the altercation “as being bitten by a beast.”

During a recess at about 3pm, DPP Legislator Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文) snatched documents from Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Chester Chou (周萬來) and ran out of the chamber.

KMT lawmakers demanded that Kuo return the documents and explain himself, while DPP lawmakers claimed Hsu attempted to strangle Wang with a DPP party flag.

Kuo later told reporters that his actions were “justified” as the opposition parties “have been increasingly violent,” adding that the contents of the files he obtained could not be made public.

The differences between the governing and the opposition lawmakers could not be reconciled despite multiple cross-caucus negotiations headed by Han.

With a majority, the opposition at 5:32pm voted to extend the legislative session.

At about 7pm, DPP Legislator Puma Shen (沈伯洋) and fellow DPP lawmakers again tried to force their way up the podium and occupy the speaker’s seat, but failed.

At 8pm, five lawmakers — Shen, Chung, DPP legislators Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) and Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), and KMT Legislator Wu Tsung-hsien (吳宗憲) — were taken to hospital.

As of press time last night, the legislative session was still ongoing.

The KMT holds 52 seats in the 113-seat legislature, while the TPP has eight and the DPP has 51. There are also two independent lawmakers who are ideologically aligned with the KMT.

Additional reporting by CNA

Source: Taipei Times - 2024/05/18

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Australian Minister of Defence Peter Dutton speaks at a news conference at the HMAS Stirling Royal Australian Navy base in Perth, Australia, on Oct. 29.
Photo: EPA-EFE

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