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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

Central Committee

The Central Committee of the SED is designated by party statute as the highest executive organ of the party and is responsible for carrying out the decisions of the party congress. When the New Economic System was launched in the 1960s, the Central Committee changed from being a purely acclamatory and declamatory assembly to one increasingly involved in the substantive matters of party organizations and policies (see Economic Policy and Performance , ch. 3).

Although the Central Committee performs a variety of important functions, its most important responsibility consists of bringing together diverse points of view, which contributes to the formulation of short- and long-term SED policies. This role is particularly important in the area of economic planning and administration, which remains a key policy area. In this respect, the Central Committee provides a sounding board for positions that the Politburo subsequently takes on various issues. During its plenary sessions, usually between two to four per year, the Central Committee routinely examines the work of the Politburo and Secretariat, and individual committee members evaluate Politburo reports that fall within their areas of expertise. Both the Politburo reports and the policy discussion papers presented at the party plenums are important to the functions of the Central Committee; they present guidelines for running the government and party apparatus. On occasion the Politburo directs the Central Committee to create special commissions, composed of members of the Council of Ministers and the Presidium, which are tasked with exploring areas of topical interest to the Politburo or the Secretariat.

Data as of July 1987