Constitutional Issues

There were two possible ways of uniting the GDR and West Germany into a single state: either through a new common constitution or by the GDR entering the Federal Republic. In February 1990 nearly 90% of West Germans and around 84% of East Germans supported the GDR joining the Federal Republic and adopting its Basic Law. Their attitude was confirmed by the Alliance for Germany coalition's victory in the March 1990 elections.

However, civil rights organisations aiming at direct popular participation in political processes argued for a new, common constitution to be drafted. Alliance 90/The Greens submitted a draft constitution to the People's Chamber in April, but the other parties rejected it. They were worried it would prevent rapid unification, and criticised the social welfare proposals as financially unviable.

In June 1990 the People's Chamber instead adopted ten basic principles at constitutional level, including commitment to democracy, the rule of law and the social market economy. This made it possible for the GDR to restrict its sovereign right or transfer it to Federal Republic institutions.

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