BERLIN, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned on Thursday against the surfacing of societal divisions in his country following recent federal elections.
Some citizens were "shocked" and "appalled" by the electoral outcome, Steinmeier said during an official speech in Berlin. According to the president, everybody could feel that the political climate in German society was changing.
While Steinmeier told the audience that he welcomed "controversies," he believed that German citizens had a shared responsibility to prevent "democratic disputes" from turning into "outright animosity."
The governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/ Christian Social Union (CSU) and German Social Democrats (SPD) all suffered heavy losses in federal elections on Sept. 24. By contrast, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party surged to 12.6 percent of the vote and thus gained entry to Germany's Federal Parliament (Bundestag) for the first time.
Steinmeier argued that Germans now needed to remain open for "democratic dialogue".
"Please let us ensure together that the democratic culture in this country is preserved," the president pleaded.