5 International Parliament Clashes Bigger Than #Elbowgate
You thought what happened on Wednesday in Canada’s House of Commons was bad? As #elbowgate continues to dominate news headlines, we look back at some of the most infamous parliament clashes from across the globe.
Last December, MPs of the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev launched a brawl during a speech by Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk. It’s not everyday you see a fight break out after flowers were exchanged first!
Last year, members of the Japanese parliament debated legislation that would allow the military to take a more active role worldwide. The Prime Minister of Japan, however, was concerned his military was too small to fight off threats from other countries. Many in Japan wanted the nation to remain peaceful—and they chose to defend that stance by fighting on the floor to prevent the vote. Pacifism, indeed!
The small island nation has a long history of fighting incidents in parliament. You only need visit YouTube for evidence. Although not the most famous brawl to have occurred in Taiwan, this one from 2013 broke out between the ruling Kuomintang party lawmakers and the opposition party. The heart of the issue? Taiwan’s capital gains tax. The fracas involved a lot of yelling, punching and a surprising amount of hair-pulling.
It’s not so much a physical interaction as a escalating exchange of words. The end of the video, with House of Commons Speaker John Bercow at his wit’s end, contains Bercow’s his oft-quoted admonishment to Education Secretary Michael Gove: “Mr. Gove, you need to write out 1,000 times: ‘I will behave myself at Prime Minister’s Questions!'”
Back in 2011, an opposition MP used tear gas powder against the parliament’s deputy speaker. The reason? MP Kim Sung-dong wanted to block ratification of a trade deal with the U.S. The video shows Kim throwing a powdery substance at Chung Eui-hwa. The latter was seen wiping his eyes afterward, while others covered their mouths and eyes.
At the end of the day, the fracas that occurred this week in Canada’s House of Commons pales in comparison to parliament interactions around the globe. Yes, they acted like rowdy children in a playground, but we can at least be grateful no tear gas—or flowers—was involved.