With only one dissenting vote, Hans Modrow, 61, is asked by the People's Chamber deputies to form a government. The Dresden SED Party chief has for some time been a focus of people's hopes both at home and abroad. The pro-reform, open-minded and confident Modrow, who has no apparent desire for the external trappings of power, was for a long time purposely kept far from the centers of power in East Berlin. In February 1989, Central Committee Secretary Günter Mittag publicly reprimanded him for »bad Party work« in his district.
In contrast, the 82-year-old former Minister for State Security, Erich Mielke, finds himself in an especially difficult position among the People's Chamber deputies. He listens with visible astonishment to numerous expressions of dissatisfaction following a presentation in which he plays down the state security apparatus. Finally, in confused self-justification, he cries out, »But I love you, I love everyone!«
A new mood has developed at the Monday demonstration in Leipzig: »Germany, united Fatherland« is painted in black, red and gold letters on a white banner, and it isn't long before it is taken up as a chant. Other banners demand, »Let's settle scores with the people responsible for the chaos« and »Down with the SED.« In Dresden (100,000) Karl-Marx-Stadt(50,000), Wismar (20,000), Neuruppin (12,000), Schwerin (8,000), Cottbus (10,000), Magdeburg (10,000), Bautzen (10,000), Heiligenstadt (9,000), Halle (8,000), Sonneberg (7,000), Apolda (5,000), Pößneck (4,000), Neubrandenburg (3,000), and Zwickau (3,000), demonstrators demand a permanent right to travel, »Western money for mature citizens,« a plebiscite on Article 1 of the Constitution (the SED's monopoly of power), and free elections as soon as possible.
© 1999, Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin