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Lawmakers brawl over election committee

Wang Jin-pyng blames DPP for filibustering to stop KMT legislation from being passed

Ruling and opposition party lawmakers scuffle on the Legislature floor Tuesday in Taipei. Rival lawmakers exchanged punches, climbed on each other's s...

Ruling and opposition party lawmakers scuffle on the Legislature floor Tuesday in Taipei. Rival lawmakers exchanged punches, climbed on each other's s...

Lawmakers fought a pitched and sometimes violent battle on the Legislature's floor yesterday when a bill aimed at reforming the Central Election Committee was introduced, paralyzing the session and leading to partisan recriminations.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of the main opposition Kuomintang party blamed the governing Democratic Progressive Party for filibustering yesterday's session in an effort to prevent the KMT-introduced bill from being passed, saying the DPP had violated the spirit of majority rule.
But the DPP insisted that the KMT's bill to reconstitute the group was unconstitutional, and its lawmakers again stormed the speaker's dais to block a vote on the bill as happened last January when the bill was introduced.
At present, members of the CEC are nominated by the government and approved by the president, but its impartiality has been called into question by the opposition party since President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) narrow victory in the 2004 presidential election.
The KMT has been particularly upset by the CEC's decision to hold a national referendum in conjunction with the 2004 presidential election, which the party claimed had boosted support for Chen and influenced poll results.
The bill introduced by KMT legislators and their allies, who hold a slim majority in the 219-seat Legislature, proposes that CEC members be nominated based on the proportion of seats held by each party in the parliamentary body.
They insist that their bill be passed before proceeding with the 2007 central government budget.
As a result, the national budget has been in limbo, halting any new proposed programs that were to begin this year.
Wang and Premier Su Tseng-chung are scheduled to meet with caucus whips from the KMT and the DPP today for an informal negotiation in a bid to resolve the impasse.
Yesterday's trouble broke out when more than two dozen lawmakers from the DPP surrounded the dais in an attempt to prevent Wang, who is a KMT member, from speaking.
Responding to the DPP's move against Wang, dozens of KMT lawmakers charged the wall of DPP legislatures, pushing, shoving and exchanging blows with their rivals.
Lawmakers from the two factions climbed on each other's shoulders and the dais itself in a desperate attempt to gain advantage.
One of the main players was Yen Ching-piao, a KMT-aligned independent lawmaker who has been convicted of corruption, attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He is currently free pending an appeal.
Yen tried to create a pathway for Wang, but to no avail. During the melee a small group of policemen stood by without intervening.
At least one lawmaker was taken to a nearby hospital for examination after sustaining what appeared to be a minor injury to his forehead.
Another female lawmaker was shown by local TV stations tending to cuts on one of her arms.

Updated : 2022-01-18 05:32 GMT+08:00