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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Taiwanese MPs in parliament brawl
Taiwanese MP injured in brawl
At least two lawmakers were injured in the fist-fight
Legislators in Taiwan threw punches, sprayed water and wrestled violently, in a row over an electoral reform bill.

The brawl broke out when more than 24 members of parliament from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) stormed the Speaker's podium.

They were trying to stop the Speaker addressing the bill, and accuse the opposition of delaying the 2007 budget.

Taiwan's parliament, which is split between two major political factions, often descends into physical violence.

Passionate debate

Lawmakers from the DPP accuse opposition Speaker Wang Jin-pyng of abusing his position, saying he is delaying the annual budget by insisting the electoral bill is passed first.

Mr Wang is a member of the main opposition Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT), which holds a slim parliamentary majority with several smaller parties.

As Mr Wang prepared to speak, DPP members descended upon the Speaker's podium. KMT members responded by attacking their DPP rivals, exchanging punches and climbing on top of each other's shoulders.

One female lawmaker was seen with a large gash on her arm after the melee.

And at least one MP was taken to hospital for examination after receiving an injury to his forehead, Associated Press news agency reported.

Fist-fights

It's the latest in a series of parliamentary punch-ups in the self-ruled island.

Brawl in Taiwan's parliament
Taiwanese MPs frequently come to blows to resolve disputes

After starting a transition from dictatorship to democracy in 1987, the country is split between the two parliamentary factions.

The last major brawl, in January, centred on a similar KMT proposal.

In 2004, one politician suggested MPs should be forced to take breathalyser tests before legislative meetings to prevent the frequent fist-fights.

Back in 2001, MP Lo Fu-chu was suspended from parliament for six months after punching a female colleague.

Tuesday's offending electoral bill proposed changing the make-up of Taiwan's electoral commission so it reflects the parties' representation in parliament.

Commission members are currently nominated by the government and approved by the president.


SEE ALSO
Taiwan tires of MPs brawls
13 Apr 01 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan legislator suspended for violence
13 Apr 01 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan MP slaps woman in parliament
29 Mar 01 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Taiwan
03 Mar 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Taiwan
02 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

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