>Czech politics: Civic Democrat leader’s wife to stand for opposing party

>You have to feel a little sorry for Czech Civic Democrat leader (ODS) Miroslav Topolánek. As if winning an election with a record vote and then having to negotiate a minority government and agree your ministerial choices with the opposition Social Democrats isn’t bad enough, now even his wife is against him – at least politically. Pavla Topolánková – depicted as a Barbara Bush or Nora Major style Hausfrau during this spring’s election campaign – is to stand for the Czech Senate for the new instant Politika 21 party created by independent Euro MP and ex-newsreader, Jana Bobosíková. “As I didn’t get an offer from ODS, I decided to stand for Politka 21” Mrs T is reported as saying


The party, which is contesting about half a dozen Senate seats has a few
other non-political candidates, has a populist anti-political programme of abolishing the Senate, direct presidential elections, cutting down the number of MPs and investigating their property, slashing bureaucracy and resisting the demands of the Sudeten Germans and the Catholic Church. The programme is essentially that of the Independent Democrats group founded by ex-TV magnate Vladimír Želežný for Bobosíková was elected to the European Parliament in 2004. Hapless ODS senatorMilan Balabán will have to face Mrs T. in her (and Mr. T’s) home city of Ostrava.

The Czech Republic certainly needs more women in top level politics and also needs to stop the often scurrilous targeting of the prominent women politicians it does have There is also no reason why couples shouldn’t both be involved in politics, even for opposed parties – former Social Democrat Education Minister Petra Buzková was married to Josef Kotrba, a leading free market economist and member of the right-wing Civic Democratic Alliance. In political terms, however, Topolánek, who presents the image of a bluff conventional Czech borec, is likely to come out with his already shaky authority further weakened. When he is toppled as ODS leader, will he be spending more time with his family, I wonder?

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