The Imperfect Union: Constitutional Structures of German Unification

By Peter E. Quint | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Constitutional Reform in the GDR, 1989–1990:
Amending the Constitution

THE Round Table draft and related attempts to enact a wholly new constitution were not the only constitutional developments in the last year of the GDR. Indeed, beginning in early December 1989, the East German political system moved steadily away from the principles of the old Stalinist document through a series of constitutional amendments and related statutory provisions. Some of these measures were adopted in the Modrow period before the election of March 1990, and other provisions—more clearly directed toward unification—were enacted during the de Maizière regime.


THE OLD VOLKSKAMMER AND THE MODROW GOVERNMENT

Even during the period when the eventual adoption of a new GDR Constitution seemed to be a real prospect, most believed that certain constitutional changes were needed so urgently that they should be made by amending the 1968/74 constitution immediately—although that document, resting on Stalinist foundations, was generally agreed to be fundamentally unsalvageable. Because of the urgency of these amendments, it was necessary that they be enacted by the unreformed Volkskammer, even before its replacement by a freely chosen parliament that would be seen as legitimate.

Acting before the election of March 18, 1990, therefore, the old Volkskammer under the government of Hans Modrow adopted four sets of amendments which indicate the areas in which reform was viewed as most urgent in that early period. 1 Although these amendments lacked the full legitimacy of changes enacted by the new Volkskammer after the election of March 18, 1990, they made a more powerful public impression and were in a sense more important. After the election of March 18, it was clear that unification would soon be achieved—on terms basically determined by the conservative coalition in the west—and subsequent amendments were steps leading to that almost certain conclusion. The earlier changes, in contrast, were measures still being undertaken by a more or less autonomous state in the process of groping toward a new and not entirely foreseeable constitutional order.


Rejection of Leading Role of the Communist Party

The first constitutional change was an amendment of enormous symbolic importance: on December 1, 1989, the Volkskammer amended article 1 of the 1974 constitution to abolish the special leadership role of the “working class

-35-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Imperfect Union: Constitutional Structures of German Unification
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 482

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.