Punches Thrown in Taiwan Parliament

(RepublicanDaily.org) – Deliberations on a bill in the Taiwanese parliament descended into chaos after brawls broke out between opposing members of parliament (MPs) who were debating a number of reforms for the chamber.

The MPs we comprised of members of from two of Taiwan’s major political parties, the Kuomintang (KMT), and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Taiwan’s president-elect Lai Ching-te belongs to the DPP, but will struggle to push and pass measures in a chamber where his party serves as the minority.

The KMT has more seats in the 113-seat Taiwanese parliament, but does not have enough numbers to form a majority. In an attempt to remedy the situation, the KMT is looking to form an alliance with a smaller party, the TPP or Taiwan People’s Party, which holds eight seats.

A particular prickly point the two parties disagree over is a provision that slaps criminal charges against on MPs deemed to have made false statements in parliament.

The KMT has been the strongest voice supporting the false statement provision, saying that it allows for better legislative oversight.

On the other hand, DPP has opposed the measure, calling it an “unconstitutional” overreach of government authority. Wang Mei-hui, one of the DPP’s members, accused the KMT of attempting to stifle discussion and discourse through the proposed reform.

KMT member Jessica Chen fired back, saying that the DPP of opposes the reform because they have always been used to monopolizing [sic] power.”

Tensions were already reportedly high even before deliberations began, with each side already engaging in heated arguments with one another, with even insults traded while legislators were outside the chamber. Once the session began, the situation quickly devolved into fisticuffs among opposing MPs. Video of the incident shows MPs jumping over tables and lunging at colleagues, pulling each other down to the floor, and exchanging punches. One member is seen “stealing” the bill to prevent it from being passed. The brawl temporarily stopped but it did not take long for the scraps to start back up, which persisted until the afternoon.

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