>Czech politics: ODS leader’s relationship with fellow MP led wife to mount Senate challenge

>Lidové noviny (17 August) citing various Czech tabloid newspapers reports strongly suggests that Civic Democrat leader Miroslav Topolánek has been having an affair with fellow ODS MP Lucie Talmanová (pictured left), recently elected one of the Czech parliament’s deputy speakers as something of a surprise candidate for ODS. Topolánek and his wife are reportedy in the process of separating. In this light the decision of his wife Pavla Topolánková to run for the Czech Senate against his party makes rather more sense– as an act of personal revenge by a woman who has tried, albeit sometimes rather maladroitly, to influence her husband’s political career (staging photocalls, offering advice) and also seems to have political ambitions of her own (‘…to be President or a Senator…’ as she said in a previously little noticed interview). Admittedly the longrunning negotiations over forming a government overran the deadline for candidates to the Senate to file nominations. Lidové noviny’s commentary today that she is a ‘third rate Hillary’ doomed to lose her election bid is politically accurate if rather harsh.

In interviews with todays’s press (LN, MfD) Talmanová herself (pictured above) denies that she andTopolánek were having an affair and despite the predictable questions about how much she spends on clothes comes across as dignified and serious. Her political profile has risen hugely, but given the fairly vicious sexism of the Czech media, her career may be badly damaged.

On the whole, I think the story will still weaken Topolánek politically too….

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