The Tainan City Council voted Monday to elect Lai Mei-hui (???) of the Democratic Progressive as speaker to replace the Kuomintang's Lee Chuan-chiao (???), who lost his position after been convicted of vote-buying.
Lai won 33 votes in the 55-member council, including 24 from DPP members, one from a Taiwan Solidarity Union representative and eight from independents. Members of the Kuomintang boycotted the vote.
Lai, who will be sworn into office on Wednesday, thanked the council staff, her caucus members and non-DPP members who supported her, and she pledged to seek political harmony, supervise the city government and work with it to better the lives of Tainan residents.
There was little harmony on the council floor before the vote was held as KMT members did their best to block Acting Speaker Kuo Hsin-liang (???) of the DPP from reaching the chairman's podium to lead the voting session.
The KMT members insisted that the speaker election should not be held before the body's official session begins on Wednesday. They also were determined to boycott the vote because one of its members who was injured during a Sept. 30 extra session was still in the hospital.
KMT caucus head Tsai Yu-hui (???) said Hung Yu-feng (???), whose left eye was injured on Sept. 30, was the party's nominee for the speaker seat.
Her doctors said she needed to be hospitalized for six days, "so the speaker election needs to wait until she is discharged from the hospital," Tsai said.
DPP members formed a human shield to escort Kuo into the room and to his seat at the head of the chamber. During a scuffle on the way to the podium, his tie was pulled so hard a voice yelled "don't pull his tie!"
When he got closer to the chairman's seat, opposition council members engaged in a new melee in which KMT members used chairs and cups to stop DPP members, including Kuo, from taking the podium.
Amid the chaos, Kuo Ching-hua (???) of the DPP jumped up on the podium and nudged himself backward, giving Kuo Hsin-liang room to get to the microphone, allowing him to declare the start of the meeting and to announce that the voting would begin at 2 p.m.
Two council members, one each from the KMT and the DPP, were hospitalized for injuries incurred during the clash.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel