EAST BERLIN — EAST GERMANY'S Communist Party Central Committee and its ruling Politburo bowed to immense grassroots pressure and resigned yesterday, official media reported. State radio quoted Communist Party spokesman Guenter Schabowski as saying the party had expelled former leader Erich Honecker, ex-state security minister Erich Mielke, and several other members of the old guard because of years of misrule.
The Central Committee, which has 160 members, and the 13-member Politburo quit. A working group has been set up to run party affairs until an emergency congress is held in two weeks.
``To avoid further danger to the existence of the party, the Politburo has found it necessary to declare its resignation,'' said Schabowski, briefing East German reporters during a break in proceedings at party headquarters.
He said the Central Committee was also stepping down to pave the way for a commission to examine the reasons for the deep crisis in the party and society.
The resignations, coupled with the expulsion of the once-omnipotent Mr. Honecker and 11 other top Communist officials, was the most sensational turn yet in the Communist Party's sagging fortunes.
Police arrested two former East German Communist Party Politburo members, including onetime economics supremo Guenter Mittag, on charges of abusing power for personal gain, the official news agency ADN said Saturday.