Deputies disrupt opening ceremony of body that will approve controversial amendments to Taiwan's constitution Taiwan's National Assembly got off to a raucous start yesterday, with some deputies disrupting the oath-taking ceremony and others tearing up their deputy certificates to protest against what they see as 'ridiculous' constitutional reforms. 'The Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] and the Kuomintang are sinning against democracy,' a small group of deputies from the Democratic Alliance of academics shouted. Three alliance members then tore up their government-issued deputy certificates and quit the assembly in protest against the alleged domination of constitutional amendments by the island's main political parties. 'We did this to show we object to the so-called constitutional reform package, which serves only to benefit large parties like the DPP and the KMT,' said alliance member Chang Ya-chung. Mr Chang said the alliance was opposed to the 'ridiculous' procedure that led to the formation of the assembly and believed that the body had little legitimacy, especially because the package of constitutional reforms that the assembly will be examining was made under populist pressure. However, Mr Chang said the alliance did not want to upset voters who cast their ballots for the alliance and would fill the three vacant seats with substitutes who would continue quitting until after the end of the assembly session. The three alliance members were not the only deputies making noises during yesterday's opening. Members of the hardline pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) held copies of the party's so-called new Taiwanese constitution as they were sworn in. Like their Democratic Alliance colleagues, the TSU deputies also believe the constitutional amendments will make it hard for small parties to survive in the future. The 300 deputies in the National Assembly, who were elected on May 14, will vote on a package of four constitutional amendments to streamline the complex legislative system and set parameters for future revisions. Under the amendments, the 225-seat legislature will be halved to 113, while its tenure will be extended to four years from three beginning in 2008. The 'multiple constituencies, one vote' system will become a 'single constituency, two votes' system. This means one legislator will be elected from one electoral district, which in the existing system, has up to 10 seats for grabs. This will largely reduce the chances of aspirants from smaller parties being elected in the future. The reform package also requires the assembly to be abolished at the end of the session and to hand over responsibility for future constitutional amendments to the Legislative Yuan. Public referendums will be called to make a final decision on such amendments. Both the DPP and the KMT have agreed on the reform package and together will be able to push through the amendments.