In what many members view as a campaign unlikely to halt rapidreunification of the Germanys, three political movements presented an election program on Friday to preserve the independence of East Germany until it can negotiate unity on more equal terms.
The three groups believe that East Germany has achieved some aspects of a socially just society that are preferable to what they see as the no-holds-barred competitiveness of West Germany.
Their stand, though backed by a minority, commands public attention because the coalition partners have long records of open opposition to the communist government that was forced out in the autumn, and they get much of their membership from among well-educated people.
The groups are the New Forum, the most active organization in the overthrow of the old regime; Democracy Now; and the Initiative for Peace and Human Rights.
The coalition, which calls itself Alliance '90, referring to the elections scheduled for March 18, reflects the fear of many East Germans of the left that their newborn political life is being divided according to the West German political spectrum.
They believe Bonn's governing Christian Democrats and Free Democrats and the opposition Social Democrats are annexing their newly founded "sister" parties.
"We want to maintain the right of self-determination that has only now become ours," said Hans-Juergen Fischbeck, spokesman for Democracy Now, on behalf of the coalition. "We want the unification of Germany, not as quickly as possible, but as good as possible."
Fischbeck and the other speakers said that East Germany is economically too weak compared with West Germany for unification now to be anything but an annexation.
The speakers said unification should be a gradual process of drawing closer, instead of an enlargement of the West German system to include this country as well.
They expressed concern over a proposed currency union that would make the West German mark the coin of East Germany. Fischbeck said a system that would give parity to both currencies and make the West German mark legal tender here would lead to a collapse of East Germany's economy.
The coalition proposed financial aid from West Germany and other countries, as well as economic cooperation, until East Germany reaches a level of industrial and agricultural productivity close to West Germany's. Only when this was achieved would unification be discussed.