DPP retakes Legislative Yuan from KMT following scuffles

06/29/2020 02:51 PM
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DPP lawmakers force their way into the chamber. / CNA photo June 29, 2020
DPP lawmakers force their way into the chamber. / CNA photo June 29, 2020

Taipei, June 29 (CNA) Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers retook the legislative chamber at around noon Monday, following scuffles with opposition Kuomintang (KMT) members who were protesting the DPP's nominee for Control Yuan president.

More than a dozen DPP lawmakers used cable cutters to break through chains locking the chamber at around 11:10 a.m. before they surrounded the speaker's podium that their KMT counterparts had occupied since late Sunday.

DPP and KMT members scuffled for about an hour before the KMT lawmakers retreated after failing to hold their position.

KMT Chairman and Legislator Johnny Chiang (front, center) speaks outside the Legislature. / CNA photo June 29, 2020
KMT Chairman and Legislator Johnny Chiang (front, center) speaks outside the Legislature. / CNA photo June 29, 2020

During the scuffles, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) was briefly taken out of the chamber by DPP legislators before he later returned to the floor.

After retaking the podium, DPP members escorted Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) of the DPP back to the podium to initiate a vote to start an extraordinary legislative session, originally due to kick off early Monday.

Following the vote that saw 46 in favor of opening the session with 28 objections, You announced that the session will run until July 22 as scheduled during which lawmakers will vote on whether to approve the nominees for the Control Yuan, among other issues.

KMT lawmakers occupy the podium. / CNA photo June 29, 2020
KMT lawmakers occupy the podium. / CNA photo June 29, 2020

Meanwhile, after losing their ground, KMT members stood in protest in front of the podium where they shouted slogans to protest the nomination of former Presidential Office Secretary-General and former Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) to head the Control Yuan.

The KMT has argued that Chen's nomination is inappropriate because members of her team in Kaohsiung had been impeached multiple times by the Control Yuan, the government branch responsible for investigating and disciplining improper behavior by public servants and agencies.

When Chen was mayor of Kaohsiung from 2006 to 2018, the Control Yuan launched 58 investigations into her administrative team, with 30 of the cases resulting in censures and three in impeachments, raising concerns about Chen's qualifications to lead the body, the KMT said in a statement.

The Control Yuan is supposed to be an impartial body, but of the 27 nominees for Control Yuan members, 24 are members of the ruling DPP or have a close relationship with the party, the statement said.

Lawmakers seen in a all-out brawl / CNA photo June 29, 2020
Lawmakers seen in a all-out brawl / CNA photo June 29, 2020

As the minority party in the Legislature, KMT said it had no other way to stop the nominations of Control Yuan members from being confirmed during the extraordinary legislative session since the DPP has a majority in the lawmaking body.

It was therefore forced to occupy the chamber to prevent the session from happening, the statement said.

More than 20 KMT legislators stormed into the Legislative Yuan on Sunday afternoon and blocked entry to the main chamber with chairs and chains.

KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) pledged earlier Monday that the occupation of the chamber would last for "at least three days."

Legislative Speaker Speaker You Si-kun (holding a microphone) proceeds with the planned procedure for the extraordinary session.
Legislative Speaker Speaker You Si-kun (holding a microphone) proceeds with the planned procedure for the extraordinary session.

DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), meanwhile, called the KMT's occupation "crazy and irrational."

Ker said the DPP would never withdraw the nomination of Chen, praising the longtime DPP member as a fighter for democracy who is more than qualified to be the Control Yuan president.

The Control Yuan consists of 29 members, who are appointed by the president and approved by the Legislature Yuan every six years.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has so far nominated 27 Control Yuan members after two others reportedly nominated for the posts withdrew amid controversies.

CNA video June 28, 2020

(By Kuo Chien-shen, Chen Chun-hua and Joseph Yeh)

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