State Parliamentarians to Be Checked for Stasi Affiliation

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It's no secret in Germany that there are tens of thousands of former informants for the East German secret police still around. After all, over the lifetime of the communist German state, more than 100,000 people provided information to the so-called Stasi on either an official or unofficial basis.

Concern remains high, however, that some of those who collaborated with the Stasi have ended up in positions of political influence. And on Thursday, the parliament for the German state of Brandenburg passed a law requiring all members of state parliament be checked for possible collaboration with the communist spies.

The law was a long time in coming. Brandenburg is the last of the five former East German states to enact such a regulation -- and it was only passed due to a series of revelations last fall that several members of the state parliament had cooperated with the Stasi prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"It is about time that the state parliament addresses this question," said parliamentarian Linda Teuteberg, a member of the business-friendly Free Democrats, in response to the vote.

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