Jilted wife barred from official events after failing to support PM over confidence vote

15-01-2007

This is make or break week for Mirek Topolánek, who says he will step down as Civic Democrat chairman if his coalition fails a vote of confidence on Friday. But it is the prime minister's wife, Pavla Topolankova, who has been dominating the headlines in recent days. Though her husband is expecting a child with another woman, she pledged to stand by her man in public. But now she has been ordered to stay away from official events.

Pavla Topolankova, photo: CTKPavla Topolankova, photo: CTK Even after it became public knowledge that Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was romantically involved with party colleague Lucie Talmanova, his wife continued to appear with him in public. The last official event they attended together was a New Year's Day lunch with President Klaus and his wife.

Since then it has emerged that Mr Topolanek is living with Ms Talmanova, who is pregnant. He publicly announced he had left his family and asked that their privacy be respected.

Jana Bobosikova, photo: CTKJana Bobosikova, photo: CTK When the affair first came to light, Pavla Topolankova took the unusual step of standing against her husband's Civic Democrats as a candidate for a tiny party, Politika 21. It held a news conference on Friday, at which leader Jana Bobosikova launched a scathing attack on the prime minister, calling him an unprincipled traitor who should resign immediately.

Pavla Topolankova made a conciliatory statement at the same event, saying she did not want a divorce and that she could forgive infidelity. But she also said she hoped her husband would lose next Friday's confidence vote; given his promise to step down it if fails, such an outcome could spell the end of his political career.

That seems to have been a step too far for her Mirek Topolanek's advisors. The Office of the Government has, she said on TV on Sunday, barred her from taking part in any official events or overseas trips with her husband.

Pavla Topolankova says she herself will decide where she appears in public. But she also seems resigned to her fate, saying she hoped to continue visiting children's hospitals and old folks' homes as the prime minister's wife. And, she said, the door remains open if her husband chooses to come home.

15-01-2007