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State elections a test for Germany's left

Members of former East Germany's ruling communist party could emerge as a powerful force in Sunday polls.

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Some 20 years ago, Vera Lengsfeld, then a student at East Berlin's Humboldt University, was plucked from a small group of protesters by the dreaded Stasi secret police and, within days, stripped of her citizenship and deported to the United Kingdom.

Her crime: On the fringes of the annual state-sponsored demonstration honoring old-school communists Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht, Ms. Lengsfeld and friends carried a banner bearing a quote from Luxembourg: "Freedom is Always the Freedom to Dissent."

As it turned out, Lengsfeld returned to Berlin on Nov. 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall fell, and was elected to parliament first for the left-wing Greens and then the conservative Christian Democrats.

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