| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

East Germany’s last Communist premier dies aged 95

The final Communist prime minister of East Germany, Hans Modrow, supervised democratic changes that paved the path for German reunification and passed away on Saturday at the age of 95, according to the hard-left Die Linke party in Germany.

“Hans Modrow passed away last night at the age of 95. Our party loses an important figure as a result of this “The East German Communist Party’s successor party stated in a statement.

When he was appointed prime minister of a communist-led transitional administration on November 13, 1989, four days after the Berlin Wall that had divided East and West Berlin for 28 years came down, Modrow had pledged to aid in the transformation of East Germany into a democracy.

The previous communist leadership had been forced out as protesters across East Germany demanded democracy and freedom, echoing calls for change across Soviet-dominated eastern Europe following Mikhail Gorbachev’s rise to power in the Soviet Union.

Modrow announced the first and only free election in what was known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in March 1990, though it resulted in him ceasing to be prime minister.

Although he carried out reforms, he was accused by opponents of trying to delay political change and reunification, which took place in October 1990. He was also criticised for trying to rebrand rather than abolish the Stasi security police.

Modrow was found guilty in 1993 of electoral fraud in a municipal election in May 1989 but was not jailed and said the charges were politically motivated.

He went on to serve in the German parliament from 1990 until 1994, representing a forerunner to Die Linke called the PDS, and was a member of the European Parliament from 1999 until 2004.

  • Reuters