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Germany

German Left-Wing Leader Accused of Working for Stasi

Politicians from across the political spectrum have called on a top Left party parliamentarian to resign amid new allegations that he was an informer for the Stasi secret police in communist East Germany.

Gysi surrounded by camera teams

Gysi has faced such allegations before

Parliamentarians from Germany's biggest political parties attacked Left party parliamentary chief Gregor Gysi on Wednesday, May 28, saying he should bear the consequences of having provided information to East Germany's Stasi secret police.

He should own up to his responsibility, politicians from the Christian Union parties the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the FDP said, with calls for an explanation, apology or even resignation.

"The departure is overdue," said Christian Democrat Thomas Strobl. "Take the necessary consequences."

Social Democrat Stephan Hisberg, one of the founders of the East German SPD, accused Gysi and his Left party of "lying and betraying."


Recurring allegations

Gysi, a lawyer, has been battling allegations he colluded with the East German secret police for years. He responded to the attacks on the floor of the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, with an impassioned speech. He rejected the allegations, saying that politicians from other parties had for years used every means to try to damage him personally in order to harm his party.

At issue this time is a 1979 meeting between Gysi and two East German dissidents, one of which was his client Robert Havemann. The head of the Stasi archive, Marianne Birthler, had provoked the new debate with comments she made on ARD television on Wednesday, in which she alleged that documents in the archive's possession concerning the meeting stemmed from an informer who could only be Gysi.

Gysi took legal action against ZDF television after it broadcast similar comments Birthler made last week.

At a Left party convention last week, Gysi rejected the accusations, saying he had never consciously or willingly cooperated with the Stasi.


Threat from the Left?

Left party leader Oskar Lafontaine had called for Birthler's dismissal.

"The boss of the Stasi [archive] is not in the position to exercise her duties objectively and impartially," he said.

The Left party was established by trade unionists and former Social Democrats a year ago. It is Germany's third-largest political party.



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