Taiwan parliament chaos: Ruling, opposition lawmakers engage in physical scuffles, verbal attacks over controversial bills

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Tensions reached a boiling point within the legislature as ruling and opposition lawmakers clashed both physically and verbally over a series of contentious reform bills, sparking a chaotic scene that persisted well into the night, Focus Taiwan reported. The turmoil unfolded during Friday’s legislative floor session, where legislators grappled for over 10 hours with amendments that would grant the Legislature expanded powers. The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan’s People Party (TPP) sought to prolong the session to push through amendments to four bills aimed at promoting legislative reforms.

The mayhem followed a fruitless five-hour cross-caucus negotiation on Thursday, leaving unresolved tensions that erupted into full-blown conflict the next day. Adding fuel to the fire, the KMT and TPP had previously bypassed customary committee deliberations, opting instead to fast-track their versions of the bills directly to a floor vote. Ahead of Friday’s session, KMT and TPP lawmakers staked out the main gate of the building to prevent their counterparts from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from gaining early access, vying for procedural advantages, as reported by Focus Taiwan.

Tensions peaked in the morning when TPP caucus whip Huang Kuo-chang engaged in a heated confrontation with DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming and DPP lawmaker Kuo Kuo-wen, accusing them of queue-jumping. Tempers flared as Kuo allegedly pushed Huang’s face away in response to the accusations, prompting further escalation. Despite the scheduled 9 am start, the session struggled to gain traction as DPP lawmakers attempted sporadically to seize control of the speaker’s podium, fiercely guarded by KMT counterparts. Amid the chaos, scenes unfolded of lawmakers physically grappling for control, including attempts to jump onto the podium and obstruct proceedings.

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As tensions peaked, Speaker Han Kuo-yu’s announcement of the meeting’s resumption around 6 pm triggered yet another round of scuffles. DPP lawmakers employed procedural manoeuvers to stall proceedings, intensifying the standoff. The confrontations took a toll, with five legislators requiring hospitalisation for injuries sustained during the clashes, including prominent figures from both the DPP and KMT, according to Focus Taiwan. Throughout the session, cross-caucus negotiations faltered, further exacerbating the deadlock and prolonging the chaotic scenes playing out within the legislative chamber.

In a dramatic turn of events, DPP lawmaker Kuo found himself in the spotlight once again as he snatched bill documents from Chou Wan-lai, the Legislative Yuan’s secretary-general, in a last-ditch effort to disrupt proceedings. As the night wore on, the session showed no signs of abating, with lawmakers entrenched in their positions and tensions running high. The protracted standoff underscored deep divisions within the legislature, highlighting the challenges of navigating contentious reform measures amidst heightened political polarisation, Focus Taiwan reported.