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Stasi checks for public servants extended

DDP/The Local · 6 Aug 2010, 15:04

Published: 06 Aug 2010 15:04 GMT+02:00

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Reiner Deutschmann, an MP for the pro-business Free Democrats and member of the Bundestag’s culture and media committee, told Friday’s edition of the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that the ruling coalition would put forward a bill after parliament’s summer break to extend the law allowing the background checks.

At present, the law is due to run out in 2011. Deutschmann said the amendment bill would also broaden the types of jobs subject to such checks.

Under the existing law, only candidates for top public service positions and elected office can be probed to see if they ever worked as officers or informants for the feared East German secret police. But under the extension, middle managers and officials such as honorary mayors could also face the checks.

The FDP politician said that eventually the centre-right majority in the Bundestag also planned to set up an investigation to find out which members of the parliament were Stasi workers in the communist East German regime between 1949 and 1990, and what if any decisions may have been influenced by those MPs.

The FDP’s parliamentary leader, Jörg van Essen, confirmed Friday: “We are sticking to the scheme. I don’t want people to be able to accuse us of failing to deal with the reconciliation with the past.”

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The plan was slammed by politicians from the socialist Left party, which was originally formed from a merger of former East German communists and disgruntled western German trade unionists. Its parliamentary leader in Thuringia, Bodo Ramelow, told Mitteldeutsche Zeitung the background checks were a “placebo history” that had nothing to do with elucidating the past.

The party's Saxony-Anhalt state chairman Matthias Höhn told the paper: “Twenty-one years after the change, it is time to end the checks.”

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

23:50 August 7, 2010 by MonkeyMania
Don't see what good this will do. Westerwelle will probably come up clean but that doesn't stop him being the biggest arse**** threat to the Bundesland.
08:55 August 8, 2010 by star15
As a non German looking in to this issue, I find it amusing that for what is meant to be a sophisticated leading European nation there is still vindictiveness towards those who served in the GDR. Does the word ¦#39;reconciliation¦#39; not exist in the German language?

I can appreciate some of the horrors perpetuated by the regime however even amongst the Stasi I can¦#39;t imagine that there were not officers who thought they were doing the right thing to guarantee the security of their country. In terms of ¦#39;informers¦#39;, there are those who inform for reward and those who inform because they had no other choice.

If history had been a little different and the GDR had consumed the FDR I am sure the law would have denied BND officers and their informers from public office.
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