Karatkevich: I was invited to Parliament, because we initiated dialogue

Караткевіч: Мяне запрасілі ў парламент, бо мы — ініцыятары гэтага дыялогу!

Round table on the next parliamentary elections was held on May 18 in the House of Representatives. Experts discussed how and what changes in legislation are necessary and possible to make the elections more fair and democratic. The expert pool was very representative: there were deputies of the Belarusian and European Parliament and Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, the leadership of the national Central Election Commission and representatives of the OSCE ODIHR, the European Commission for Democracy and the European External Action Service, and so on. All of them were high officials and politicians.

But among the guests at the round table were also unexpected guests - ex-presidential candidate, leader of the campaign "Tell the Truth" Tatsiana Karatkevich and her regular companion Andrei Dzmitryieu. However, in the program Karatkevich was described as a "friend of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party" Hramada "and there was no information about Dzmitryieu whatsoever.

How did the representative of the democratic forces end up in such a representative gathering at the state level?

Tatsiana Karatkevich: I received an invitation from two organizations: PACE and - by mail - from the House of Representatives. Without any explanation - it was just a formal invitation.

Euroradio: I can understand an invtation from PACE but why were you also invited by the other party?

Tatsiana Karatkevich: What do they say to this? After all, I do not know the answer. But I know that if there is such an invitation, the fact that we initiated the dialogue within the country confirms that we are here sitting and talking about the future: what is possible to change what needs to be changed.

Euroradio: I will rephrase it: why, in your opinion, were are invited to the meeting and other representatives of the democratic forces were not?

Tatsiana Karatkevich: Well, because we initiated the dialogue! Because we show that this is our strategy, because we believe that those deficiencies that we have in the electoral law must be dealt with through dialogue. Let's see what fruit this dialogue will bear.

Euroradio: Now some will say that if  she gets invited to such meetings in the Parliament, she will be guaranteed a deputy seat - looks like a case of "collusion".

Tatsiana Karatkevich: I do not think that this will be the conclusion of the round table ... Personally, I consider our presence here today as a sign of trust that I received during the presidential campaign, and that we've found a way of telling the truth. Truth meaning not finding enemies, but solving the problem. Today, everyone is interested in more people taking part in politics, more people trusting the electoral process and its results. After all, if we do not get together in this crisis situation, then nothing good will happen. Once again, we will just get stuck.

Euroradio: Who should unite with whom?

Tatsiana Karatkevich: Not who with whom ...

Euroradio: ... but who against whom?

Tatsiana Karatkevich: No. What I am saying is that, for example, after the elections were held we ended up with the same situation as, in fact, in 2010: half of voters think that the process was clear, transparent and fair, and the other half believes it was not. At the same time, part of the people who share these thoughts have an active attitude towards the election, others - don't. So, my goal is for majority of people to get involved in the electoral process. I understand that without the proper policy there will not be progress. Without its ... well ... basic nature. I want that there were no imitation of political activity, but real policy changes that would lead to the changes for the better in Belarus.

Euroradio: Maybe you invited here alone today to drive the last wedge between the opposition?

Tatsiana Karatkevich: This will not affect anything ... Today voters are not interested, they do not have time to follow this: who and how, with whom. Today we need to go and work with people without any additional structures -- tell what politics is, how it operates, where its results are, why we, politicians, are here.

Photo Zmitser Lukashuk