Behind every great man... - a profile of the two potential first ladies
We’ve heard a lot over the last couple of days about the presidential candidates Jan Svejnar and Vaclav Klaus, but you know what they say - behind every great man, there’s a great woman. Here is a profile of the lives and achievements of the Czech Republic’s two current candidates for the first-lady post.
Livia Klausová was born in Bratislava in 1943, the daughter of a lawyer and a teacher. She met current president Vaclav Klaus while at university, when the two studied together at the Prague School of Economics in the 1960s. The couple married in 1968, with their wedding photos showing what the New York Times describes as ‘the bride in a short, hip, Carnaby Street A-line dress and Klaus with black hair and a beard’. Like Vaclav Klaus, Livia duly went on to establish herself as a respected economist, sitting on the boards of companies like the Czech energy-giant ČEZ, and the bank Česká Spořitelna. When asked during Vaclav Klaus’s first term in office whether her high-ranking positions in several large Czech firms didn’t constitute a conflict of interests with her husband’s job, Livia responded with her usual acerbic-ness “As soon as some law defines this as being a conflict of interests, I’ll step down from these positions… or divorce Klaus.” When her marriage to the president did seem to be on the rocks - with pictures of Vaclav Klaus with a blond air-hostess hitting the tabloids in 2004 - Mrs. Klausová remained unfazed by the media circus which ensued. When asked what she was going to do now, she replied that the allegations had had no effect whatsoever on her afternoon, and she was going to take her grandchildren to the cinema. Mrs Klausová is apparently a very good dancer, with an avid interest in ballet, she also enjoys interior design, and is said to have done much to restore Prague Castle to its traditional splendour during her time in the building. Livia Klausová rarely refers to her husband by his first name. Her pet name for the president is ‘Klaus’, which she uses even when talking to journalists.