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Germany

Head of Secret Police Archive Says Sorry

A German official who accused newly elected lawmakers of working for the former East German secret police rejected calls for her resignation on Monday. Marianne Birthler, who heads the state-funded body that manages the archives of the infamous Stasi, told a German newspaper on Friday that "at least seven" of the 54 lawmakers from the Left Party were listed in documents as "unofficial collaborators" for the former communist regime. Only later on Friday did Birthler clarify that she had been referring to seven of the party's candidates for election and admitted she did not know if they were among the candidates who eventually won seats in parliament. Birthler said in Monday's Die Welt newspaper that while she regretted her original choice of words, she rejected the Left Party's accusations that her allegations had been politically motivated. "Among the candidates for the Left Party there were known cases that I had in mind when I said what I said," Birthler told Die Welt. "Not all of them were elected. Unfortunately I only corrected myself a few days afterwards. I should not have given any figure." Left Party official Bodo Ramelow said Birthler had failed to show the "necessary objectivity" to carry on in her job and should resign. But Birthler said she stood by her call for all newly elected lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament to be investigated, regardless of their party affiliation.

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