Taiwan passes opposition-led bills to enhance power of legislature

Taiwan's opposition-controlled legislature has passed measures to expand its authority, putting pressure on new Taiwan President Lai Ching-te and his minority government. Lai is already facing strain from China's military exercises and other means.

Taiwan's parliament approved the bills on Tuesday. The largest opposition Kuomintang party and the second-largest Taiwan People's Party had been leading the deliberations.

The revisions include giving lawmakers greater power to investigate the government and criminal code changes.

Under the changes, the president is required to make regular reports and face questions from lawmakers. Government officials also could face punishments if they refuse to answer questions or provide documents.

The opposition parties want to strengthen restrictions on the administration by expanding their authority, while the ruling Democratic Progressive Party sought to thwart the passing of the measures. The two sides fiercely confronted each other.

As voting was held on the bills, scuffles broke out among lawmakers and the chamber was thrown into confusion. The vote took place until late at night before the bill was passed by a majority vote.

Many citizens who are dissatisfied with the content of the bills and how to proceed with deliberations had gathered outside the legislature in protest against the opposition parties.

To counter the development, Taiwan's Executive Yuan, or Cabinet, can call for a second round of deliberations or other measures.