Stasi-linked party is back in power. Is Germany ready?

Die Linke means ‘The Left’

ThuringiaFrankfurt — Under an unprecedented power-sharing deal between center-left parties and the successor of the SED communist party that ruled Eastern Germany for almost five decades, the German state of Thuringia on Friday became the first to be governed by a premier with communist roots since reunification.

The election of trade unionist Bodo Ramelow of Die Linke (The Left) party breaks 24 years of conservative control of the ex-communist region. More importantly, some say, it marks the acceptance of the one-time communist party into political society, where Die Linke will fill a political left position long regarded as untouchable in Germany’s post-cold war era.

But for many Germans, it also stirs memories of the oppressive communist past of East Germany (GDR) – a past that some say Die Linke members have yet to sufficiently condemn or atone for. Many associate Die Linke with its former incarnation, the communist SED. And the SED controlled the Stasi, East Germany’s intelligence agency, which infiltrated almost every aspect of people’s lives with the help of hundreds of thousands of staff workers and informers…

It was part of former East Germany.