De Maizière, Lothar

De Maizière, Lothar lōˈtär də mīˌzyĕˈzəs [key], 1940–, the first and last freely elected prime minister of the (East) German Democratic Republic. He joined the puppet Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 1957 and the federal Synod of Protestant Churches, becoming its vice president in 1985. He was minister of religious affairs and deputy prime minister in Hans Modrow's Communist reform cabinet (Nov. 9, 1989). Withdrawing support from the embattled government, he resigned in Jan., 1990. Advocating rapid reunification with West Germany, he won the March elections with 45.6% of the vote. A reluctant public figure, as prime minister in a “Grand Coalition” he negotiated reunification and an end to his own position. He became minister without portfolio in Helmut Kohl's cabinet in reunified Germany (Oct., 1990). He resigned from his post, and as head of the CDU, in December when allegations surfaced that he had worked for the Stasi, the East German secret police.

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