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Legislature in chaos over legislative reform bills

05/17/2024 10:56 PM
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CNA photo May 17, 2024
CNA photo May 17, 2024

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) Ruling and opposition lawmakers engaged in physical scuffles and verbal attacks over several controversial bills on Friday, including amendments that would give the Legislature additional powers.

The legislators spent more than 10 hours wrangling over the bills during Friday's legislative floor session, which was still proceeding as of 10:30 p.m. as the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan's People Party (TPP) tried to extend Friday's meeting to pass amendments to four bills promoting legislative reforms.

Friday's chaos came after a cross-caucus negotiation that lasted for more than five hours on Thursday ended without a clear consensus.

It was also because the KMT and the TPP had voted last month in committee, where bills are usually reviewed and discussed, to take their versions of the bills directly to a floor vote without clause-by-clause deliberation, and left the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) proposed bills in the committee.

KMT and TPP lawmakers had been stationed outside the main gate of the building where the floor vote was to take place since Wednesday to prevent their DPP counterparts from signing in first to Friday's session and secure the right to have some procedural measures they wanted put at the top of the agenda.

CNA photo May 16, 2024
CNA photo May 16, 2024

In the morning of Friday, TPP caucus whip Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) got into a shouting match with DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and DPP lawmaker Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文) when Huang accused Ker, who was standing next to him, of "cutting in line."

Kuo then "pushed Huang's face away for yelling and spitting." Kuo later said in response to Huang's charge that Kuo had "slapped" him.

The legislative session started at 9 a.m. but had failed to enter any of the bills up for consideration onto the agenda for a vote until in the evening as DPP lawmakers tried on and off to take over the speaker's podium, which was guarded by KMT lawmakers.

Kuo and DPP Legislator Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) tried at one point to jump or climb onto the speaker's podium. Kuo failed, but Chung got over the podium table and grabbed and then dragged down female KMT Legislator Chen Ching-hui (陳菁徽), to whom Chung later apologized and said he accidentally stepped on paper and slipped.

CNA photo May 17, 2024
CNA photo May 17, 2024

Other sporadic scuffles included what DPP lawmakers claimed was KMT Legislator Hsu Chiao-hsin's (徐巧芯) attempt of using a piece of cloth to attack another female DPP lawmaker after Hsu herself was shoved by that lawmaker after being shoved by Hsu.

Also, KMT Legislator Jessica Chen (陳玉珍) from Kinmen donned a military helmet and wore gloves as she blocked and prevented DPP lawmakers from approaching the podium.

Kuo was again in the limelight in the afternoon when he snatched the bill documents from Chou Wan-lai (周萬來), secretary-general of the Legislative Yuan, and ran away to obstruct the proceedings.

Cross-caucus negotiations took place intermittently amid the session, but the round of negotiations in the afternoon again failed to reach agreement.

The Legislature then broke out in another round of scuffles when Speaker Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) returned to the floor to announce the resumption of the meeting at around 6 p.m.

The DPP lawmakers then used a series of procedural tactics to delay the proceedings.

When Han announced that the discussion of the bills was to begin, he again faced DPP lawmakers' attempt to force their way onto the speaker's podium.

Five legislators were sent to the hospital to treat injuries as of 8 p.m. They were DPP lawmakers Chung Chia-pin, Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄), and Puma Shen (沈伯洋), as well as Wu Tsung-hsien (吳宗憲) of the KMT.

The session was still proceeding as of 10:30 p.m.

(By Alison Hsiao)


> Chinese Version


● Article by article review of reform bills halted until May 21

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