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Political parties in East Germany

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Political parties in East Germany

The National Front of the German Democratic Republic (German: Nationale Front der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, NF) until 1973 the National Front of Democratic Germany German: Nationale Front des Demokratischen Deutschlands) was an alliance (Popular Front) of political parties and mass organisations in East Germany (also known as a Blockpartei). The NF was controlled by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and was formed to stand in elections to the East German parliament, the Volkskammer ("People's Chamber").

Constituent parties

(all existing parties until 7 October 1989)

Constituent mass organisations

Mass organisations with representatives in the People's Chamber of the GDR
Other organisations and associations

History

The National Front was the successor to the Demokratischer Block which had been founded in the Soviet occupation zone. The Front itself was founded on March 30, 1950. It operated through the issuing of a generally consistent proportion of seats (divided between the Front's parties and SED-controlled mass organisations) submitted in the form of a single list of candidates during each election to the People's Chamber and based on a set quota rather than vote totals.[1] As the Front's list was the only one submitted it "won" with virtually unanimous levels of support.[2]

Although nominally a broad-based coalition, in practice the SED was the only one with any real power. By ensuring that Communists dominated the lists, the SED essentially predetermined the composition of the People's Chamber.

In 1950-1951, the public rejection of the validity of the list by some German politicians resulted in prison penalties for "rejecting the electoral law of the German Democratic Republic" (as in the case of LDPD leader Günther Stempel). By the mid-1950s, the more courageous members of the constituent parties had been pushed out, and the parties had all been transformed into loyal partners of the SED.

On December 1, 1989, the Front was effectively rendered impotent when the Volkskammer deleted the provision of the constitution that gave the SED a monopoly of power. Four days later, the Christian Democratic Union and Liberal Democratic Party, having thrown out their pro-Communist leaderships, withdrew from the Front. On December 16 the SED was reformed into the Party of Democratic Socialism. The PDS distanced itself from SED policies, instead branding itself as a democratic socialist party. On February 20, 1990, an amendment to the Constitution of East Germany removed mention of the Front.[3]

Chairmen of the National Front

  • Prof. Erich Correns (1950–1981)
  • Prof. Lothar Kolditz (1981–1989)

See also

References

External links

  • http://www.paper.olaf-freier.de/blockpt.htm
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