Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) - North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU), as senior president of the newly elected state parliament, has called for a more determined defense of democracy. He is concerned that "many citizens are moving away from the democratic process," said the 69-year-old CDU politician on Wednesday at the inaugural session of the Düsseldorf state parliament.
Many people have lost confidence in the state. This is also reflected in the low turnout. Participation in the NRW state election two and a half weeks ago fell to a historically low level of just 55.5 percent.
At the same time, Corona deniers, lateral thinkers and Pegida activists are gaining traction and - sometimes with anti-democratic and anti-Semitic statements - encouragement on the Internet, Reul warned. Everyone has the right to express their opinion. However, the following applies: "Hate is no longer an opinion." Anti-democratic attitudes should not seep into mainstream society.
After the corona pandemic and a war just around the corner, many people are increasingly unsettled. "We have to work against it with all social forces," warned Reul. But people can only be won through action. "Speeches for the gallery are of no use at all."
Instead, everyone must be given the feeling "that our democratic state is a valuable achievement and that it can also solve problems." That is the core task of politics. "Not power, position, self-portrayal," emphasized the senior president. "Too many citizens are strangers to parliamentary politics." But you have to reach out to these people. "We have to get better at that," admitted Reul.