Pavla Topolankova to run for the Senate

The wife of the Civic Democratic Party leader Mirek Topolanek -the man who is likely to become the country's next prime minister - on Monday dropped a small bombshell. She announced her intention to run for a seat in the Senate - for a party other than that of her husband: a party that is moreover extremely critical of the Civic Democrats. Overnight she has become a potential rival.

She'd been nicknamed the Czech Hilary Clinton. A successful businesswoman in her own right, the 51-year-old Pavla Topolankova devoted herself totally to building up her husband's career - she followed him on campaign trails, spoke in public and stood by him through all his ups and downs. Now -when the goal is finally in sight she has dropped a small bombshell. She herself is seeking a post in the Senate. And she is not only running for a rival party but one that has extremely strained relations with her husband's Civic Democrats. The Civic Democratic party leadership did not hide its disapproval while party leader Mirek Topolanek tried to smooth ruffled feathers:

Mirek TopolanekMirek Topolanek "She was interested in entering politics if such an offer was ever made. The Civic Democrats did not approach her and she made the decision she did. I do not want to comment on it - it was her independent, private decision."

Pavla Topolankova herself has gone on holiday and is not answering her mobile phone. However the head of the party for which she is running Politics 21 - MEP Jana Bobosikova - is vocal enough: she has told the media that she is delighted to have Pavla Topolankova on board, adding "I believe that she is the one with the brains in the Topolanek family". The insult is just one of many she has directed at the Civic Democratic Party leader and for once his wife is not standing by her man. "She is now a rival - and I hope that we beat her in her constituency", Mirek Topolanek told the media.