Historical Social Research

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Ronald Gebauer & Stefan Jahr, Second Life in the Bundestag? Former GDR Delegates in German Parliaments [Abstract]

East Germany’s 20th anniversary of a fully democratic representation in 2010 gives reason to reflect the democratization process again. Democratization was without doubt never contested by politicians with their political roots in the opposition groups. Nevertheless, in the early 1990s and even later on, there was still a considerable minority among East German MNPs and MSPs with a comparatively strong affiliation to the former communist system (though not necessarily member of one of SED’s successor parties). The German Parliamentary Survey (first wave, 2003) contains data of 140 of those ‘survivors’ out of 635 MNPs, MSPs and MEPs with an East German background. This contribution, first, reconsiders political representation in the GDR. Second, the social profile of delegates in the Bundestag and the State parliaments with their political roots in the SED and the bloc parties will be compared with that of those electees who appeared in the political arena in 1989/90 and later. Third, the adherence of former GDR delegates to democratic values will be discussed, likewise mirrored in the German Parliamentary Survey, by asking delegates how they rate statements like: “Democracy persists only in the case of a strong leadership that is able to curtail partial interests.” and other.