A political scandal is brewing in Germany over revelations that a state security agency has been spying on members of the Die Linke leftist party, which has roots in East German communism.
It has emerged that almost a third of its 76 MPs are being monitored legally for evidence of anti-democratic activities. Die Linke is crying foul, but the ruling CDU is less critical.
Senior party member Hans-Petr Uhl said: “The problem with the Left Party is they don’t clearly distance themselves from groups who are ready to resort to violence and who are against the constitution.”
The extent of the spying by the Constitutional Protection Office was revealed by Der Spiegal magazine. The body’s role is to uphold democratic institutions such as an independent judiciary and free elections. But Die Linke says it has gone too far.
Its parliamentary party leader, Gregor Gysi, said: “The Constitutional Protection Office hasn’t picked up on the fact the world has changed. They haven’t learned that there were eight murders by right-wing terrorists. They haven’t figured out that the Cold War is over.”
The affair has sparked a fierce debate on the Constitutional Protection Office’s role, legality and relevance in the modern Germany.