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Federal President Steinmeier calls for democratic debate ahead of state elections

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Zeiss AG. / Photo: Martin Schutt/dpa
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Zeiss AG. / Photo: Martin Schutt/dpa

In view of the state elections in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg, Federal President Steinmeier calls for more democratic debate and warns against hatred and violence.

In view of the upcoming state elections and the possible rise of the AfD in three eastern German states, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for more democratic debate. "I believe we should not look like rabbits at snakes," he said on Thursday in Jena, Thuringia. "Instead, we should indeed engage in democratic debate. And it will certainly be conducted above all in the states where elections are being held."

This year, state elections are being held in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg. In all three federal states, the AfD has recently been ahead in the polls, in some cases significantly. Steinmeier explained that polls are not elections and it is advisable not to declare winners in advance. "The debate is still taking place."

He is encouraged by the fact that this is also taking place within the center of society. In the meantime, employers' associations and trade unions have also called for rallies, and he himself will be at a major event in Stuttgart next Monday. He is pleased that many people are now on the streets and are standing up for democracy and its rules.

"One of the most important rules of the game is that hatred and violence must have no place in democratic debate," he said, referring to an arson attack on the house of a local SPD politician in Thuringia or the violent protests against a Green Party event in Biberach in the south-west. Steinmeier said he condemned all those who did not facilitate democratic debate.

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