05/18/2024, 14.57
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Taipei riots in parliament on the eve of Lai's inauguration

The inauguration speech of the new president, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party who will begin his term of office on 20 May, is awaited. Meanwhile, in the parliament where the Kuomintang - closer to Beijing - has a majority, the debate on a reform of the legislature with greater control over the government has degenerated into a brawl. The challenge of maintaining the status-quo in the face of China pressing for ‘reunification’. 

Rome (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The swearing-in on Monday 20 May of the new president elected last January, William Lai Ching-te, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is highly anticipated in Taipei.

His victory, obtained with over 40% of the vote, clearly indicates the position of the Taiwanese population, which in continuity with the mandate of the outgoing president Tasi Ing-wen does not want the unification of the ‘rebel province’ that the People's Republic of China continues to evoke even with sorovli of military aircraft. Lai's clear victory does not, however, correspond to a majority in parliament, which is in the hands of the opposition parties KMT and TPP, closer to Beijing.

The inauguration ceremony thus comes in a climate of high political tensions. And yesterday a brawl broke out in parliament during discussions on a bill to reform the legislature. The initiative would effectively give Parliament greater powers of control over the Executive Yuan - the government - and make it possible to convict officials who perjure themselves during the legislature.

Shoving and scuffles took place, not least an attempt to steal the documents under scrutiny. Disturbances were commented on by Lai Ching-te himself, via Facebook in the early hours today, who called for a ‘rational’ debate to restore harmony and achieve consensus. 

Meanwhile, the DPP leader's words on Monday will be closely scrutinised by China and the US, key partners on the island. A senior official who will take office with Lai told Reuters requesting anonymity that the new executive's central commitment to maintaining the status quo in the island's relations with Beijing will emerge in his speech. ‘We will talk about our stable and steady approach, continuing to follow the basic principles laid down by President Tsai,’ he said.

A stance that certainly has to contend with mounting pressure from China, which has rejected dialogue with the incoming president on several occasions and is insistently trying to bring Taiwan under its control, forcing it to recognise its sovereignty. But the positioning of Lai Ching-te and the DPP is that only the people of Taiwan can decide its future.

It will therefore be the commitment to maintaining the current international balance that will be the main challenge for the new government. ‘We will ensure that Taiwan plays an indispensable role in the global economy and geopolitics, maintaining the status quo and working with all parties to ensure that the status quo is not undermined,’ the senior official continued. From China, however, a clear stance is expected from the new president, who has been accused on several occasions by his mainland neighbour of supporting the formal independence of the island. Beijing argues that such a scenario would be reason enough to conduct an attack on Taiwan.

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