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Leftist leader in Thuringia employing ex-Stasi officer as secretary

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Leftist leader in Thuringia employing ex-Stasi officer as secretary
Ramelow Photo:DPA
13:29 CEST+02:00
Bodo Ramelow, the politician from Germany's socialist party The Left hoping to become the state premier of Thuringia, has reportedly been employing a former Stasi officer in his parliamentary office for years.

Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday that Marion Wallrodt worked in Section III of East Germany's Ministry of State Security, which was responsible for the bugging of politicians as well as normal citizens in West Germany. She now works in Ramelow's Berlin office as secretary.

The news comes just two weeks before the general election, as the leftists were performing better than ever in opinion polls.

Her Stasi file says that she joined the dreaded secret police force aged just 18, in 1969, and proceeded on a fast career path. She stayed there until the end, being decorated several times for her service to the ministry – the last time in February 1989.

The job that she holds with Ramelow means that although she works in the Bundestag, she did not need to be routinely checked for a Stasi background.

She told the magazine, “Ramelow knows of my former job. I was responsible above all for Russian translation at the Ministry for State Security.

“That is obviously not a problem for my work as an employee in the parliament.”

The Left could ill-afford to have the Stasi background of an employee be blown up to taint its image nationally. It recently reached its best level of support, at 14 percent nationally according to an opinion poll, and performed well in last month's state elections in Thuringia and Saarland.

Ramelow is hoping to forge a left-wing coalition in Thuringia with the centre-left Social Democrats and the Greens, but those two parties have both criticised The Left for backing people with questionable ties to the Stasi. The latest revelation about Ramelow's secretary could kibosh his hopes for become the first state premier from The Left party.

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