Taiwan parliament ends session as fists, shoes fly
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Dozens of lawmakers kicked, shoved, shouted, threw shoes and pulled each other’s ties in Taiwan’s parliament on Friday, stalling passage of the island’s annual budget and a long-beleaguered military spending bill.
The parliamentary scuffles, by no means Taiwan’s first, began with members of the two dominant political parties carrying signs accusing their rivals of ill intentions.
One legislator threw shoes at the speaker of the house, one was cut in the head, another climbed on a table and others hurled objects as each side tried the other from controlling the podium.
Legislators from Taiwan ruling party DPP and opposition party KMT clash during a congress session in Taipei January 19, 2007. (REUTERS/ Jimmy Chang)
The fighting broke out after the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opposed a proposal by the main opposition Nationalist Party to adjust the make-up of the Central Election Commission.
The proposal would give the Nationalists an edge on the commission, which organises and ensures elections run smoothly.
In retaliation, the Nationalists decided not to vote for the DPP-backed 2007 budget bill.
At one stage, DPP legislators locked the door of the meeting room to prevent parliament speaker, Wang Jin-pyng, who is also a member of the Nationalist Party, from entering.
The parliament session ended without reviewing the annual government budget for 2007 or a bill that will pave the way for a special purchase of advanced U.S. arms to defend itself against China.
The government planned for an eighth straight year of budget deficit this year, with the poor fiscal health prompting ratings agency Standard & Poor’s to put Taiwan’s sovereign credit rating outlook to negative in 2004.
On the U.S. arms purchase, the Nationalists had blocked the plan repeatedly as they sought to build better relations with Beijing and thwart the ruling DPP.
But the ruling party faces pressure from the United States after the top U.S. diplomat in Taiwan publicly expressed in October disappointment about the arms bill impasse and pressed the parliament to approve a purchase.
Taiwan Province is joke. Their conduct reminds me of bitter schoolchildren in the playground and it is sickening because I have seen governments in war torn countries that behave better then those idiots. Examples of legislative professionalism in the face of real ethnic strife or historical issues are Bosnia, Indonesia, Rwanda, and even Iraq.
Some would say that they would prefer a fighting, hollering, and brawling legislature over no legislature at all. However, what is the use of a pugnacious Parliament if it gets nothing gets done, raises a negative profile on the province, and promotes turmoil? I am sorry, but these regular fights were seen by outisders as pure comedy and it would make perfect sense why file footage from such fights were used in a PlayStation commercial. With all that is said and done, I am sure this is edutainment because it is both educational and entertaining for many people.