Water cups flew and lawmakers held shoving matches in what was likely the start of yet another acrimonious and unproductive legislative session yesterday.
Premier Frank Hsieh (
Chanting "Fight corruption, save Taiwan" and "Re-elect the president and the legislature," pan-blue lawmakers occuppied the legislative floor at 10:20am, holding placards and a white banner reading: "Re-elect the president, vice president, premier and legislature."
Pan-green lawmakers responded by chanting "Dismiss the legislature" and "Begin the session." In addition, some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers held signs reading "Pan-blues, please file a no-confidence vote" and "the government cannot operate in neutral gear."
The first round of lawmaking mayhem climaxed when DPP Legislator Wang Shu-hui (
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
The turmoil came after pan-blue lawmakers condemned Hsieh during the National Affairs Forum, which preceded yesterday's legislative sitting.
They demanded that Hsieh step down or take personal leave, to avoid any conflict of interest while an independent investigator conducts a probe into a riot last month by Thai workers in Kaohsiung, where Hsieh was formerly mayor.
In a bid to resolve the political stalemate, Wang called an emergency meeting with caucus leaders during the recess, during which the DPP caucus agreed to the KMT caucus' request to establish five commissions of inquiry to probe into different "corruption incidents," in exchange for the pan-blue camp's agreement to let Hsieh deliver his policy report.
The five commissions are to probe Kaohsiung City's mass rapid transit system, the north-south high-speed rail system, the release of the Chunghwa Telecom stake, the privatization of the Taiwan Business Bank and allegations of widespread insider trading on the stock market.
During round two of the legislative sparring, the pan-blue alliance reneged on its promise and resurrected its vocal portests during the afternoon session.
Shortly after that session began, DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mo (
DPP Legislator Kuan Pi-ling (
"Why can't I stand here, while opposition parties get to occupy the legislative floor?" she shouted.
The second round of the legislative session ended in style, with Huang Chao-shun and DPP Legislator Lee Ming-hsien (
Wang then ordered another recess, which lasted for about 15 minutes.
Round three then began, but the session was again disrupted at 3:15pm, when Hsieh tried to take the podium, only to have Huang Chao-shun complain that Wang had failed to inform the legislature of the agreement reached at noon.