February 18, 2008 / 5:39 PM / 11 years ago

Party expels politician over Stasi comment

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Left party has thrown out one of its regional deputies who sparked outrage by arguing for the return of East Germany’s notorious secret police, the Stasi.

Christel Wegner, 60, has been expelled from the Left party’s parliamentary group in Lower Saxony after winning a seat in the state’s parliament last month, the party said on Monday.

In a statement, the party said the views she expressed in an interview with TV station ARD last week were “unacceptable”.

“We can never again have a socialism without the rule of law, democracy and freedom to travel,” the party said.

The Left party, a relatively new grouping of ex-communists and disaffected former Social Democrats (SPD), is a rising force in German politics. It is seen as a threat to the SPD which now governs nationally in coalition with the centre-right Christian Democrats.

Wegner, who is also member of the German Communist Party (DKP), had said she wanted to see a new socialist Germany.

“I think that if a new society was created, we would need such an organisation (as the Stasi) again, because we would have to protect ourselves against reactionary forces trying to weaken the state from within,” she told ARD.

The Left party urged Wegner to give up her seat in Lower Saxony’s parliament, saying she had abused the trust of the party and the people who voted for her.

Wegner also said in the interview that the Berlin Wall had been built to protect the East German economy from West Germans seeking to cross the border to buy cheap goods.

The Stasi was seen as one of the most repressive police organisations in the world. It infiltrated almost every aspect of life in communist East Germany, using torture, intimidation and a network of informants to crush political dissent.

The Left party made it into parliaments in Lower Saxony and Hesse last month, the first time it has entered assemblies in large western states. Recent polls suggest it will also do so in Hamburg in a state election due to be held on Sunday.

Reporting by Dave Graham

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