Taiwan: Brawl breaks out in Legislature over bill

Rival lawmakers exchanged punches, climbed on each other's shoulders and jostled violently for position around the speaker's dais Tuesday, as Taiwan's Legislature dissolved into chaos over an electoral reform bill. The scenes recalled past legislative brawls in Taiwan, which began a gradual transition from dictatorship to democracy in 1987, and remains riven by passionate fighting between its two major political blocs. Tuesday's trouble broke out when more than two dozen lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party surrounded the dais in an attempt to prevent Wang Jin-pyng of the main opposition Nationalist Party from speaking. The DPP charges that Wang has abused his position as Legislative Speaker to block consideration of Taiwan's 2007 budget, which has remained in limbo over a Nationalist demand that a bill to reconstitute the island's electoral commission be passed first.