The second day of the parliamentary session is accompanied by demonstrations at the Palace of the Republic in East Berlin, at which thousands protest the continuing hegemony of the SED. Hundreds of taxis surround the building, honking and preventing access. Drivers are protesting manipulation of the electoral campaign and the privileges granted former Stasi employees.
Klaus Umlauf, of the Central Executive Board of the Union of Employees of State Organs and the Communal Economy, reports that the controversial interim benefits for ex-functionaries amount to 300 East German marks at most, and that this is currently being paid out to around 7,000 of approximately 20,000 former employees of central and local organs of the state. He says the funds come from the governing apparatus from money saved on salaries, not from enterprises in which the »dismissed employees« are now working. He adds that the law does not apply to members of the Office of National Security.
Prime Minister Modrow accedes to public pressure, agreeing to refrain from establishing a new secret service until after the elections and revoking the agreement to pay interim benefits to former Stasi employees. He says the dismantling of the Office of National Security will be accelerated and should be completed by June 30. With the two-thirds majority required for a constitutional amendment, the People's Chamber adopts an investment protection law that will permit foreign investment in businesses in East Germany. However, the permitted share is limited to a maximum of 49%.
© 1999, Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin