Jana Bobošíková – a fiery Eurosceptic determined to defend “national interests”

Jana Bobošíková, photo: Šárka Ševčíková, ČRo

Jana Bobošíková is nothing if not a fighter. As an experienced journalist she grilled seasoned politicians yet in the 2001 Czech TV crisis she sided with management in a battle for control of the airwaves, firing former colleagues who rebelled against attempts to undermine the station’s editorial independence. Although a former MEP, she is a big admirer of President Vaclav Klaus, determined to stand up against Brussels in defense of what she believes to be Czech national interests.

Jana Bobošíková,  photo: Šárka Ševčíková,  ČRo
Jana Bobošíková is the most fiery Eurosceptic of the nine presidential hopefuls. A Communist Party nominee for the top post in 2008, she backed out of the presidential race in order to increase Václav Klaus’ chances of victory. In 2009, the year she ended her term as an MEP, she established her Sovereignty party and her motto in the ongoing presidential campaign is “Stop the dictate of Brussels – it is a road to poverty”. Some have dubbed her “Klaus in skirts” and there is no doubt at all that if she were elected she would follow in President Klaus’ footsteps and maybe take their common cause even further. Asked by Czech Television what kind of president she would be Ms Bobošíková outlined some of her ambitions:

“If I were elected president I would do everything in my power to prevent more powers being transferred to Brussels. I would not have signed the Lisbon Treaty. And I would do my utmost to prevent the adoption of the euro. That I consider of crucial importance. I would also advocate a return to the old values: pride in one’s country, one’s profession, respect for one’s family and respect for the elderly. Those are values that I myself live by.”

Like many strong personalities Jana Bobošíková is either admired or hated, few people have no opinion on her. Her campaign is low-budget with no billboards or advertisements. In the course of the summer she toured the country for signatures in support of her candidacy and although she gained 55,000 supporters she was disqualified from the race by the Interior Ministry. True to form, she refused to accept the verdict and continued campaigning in the conviction that she was in the race until a court –or the public – decided otherwise. As it turned out she was right. A few weeks later the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the ministry had wrongly calculated the average error rate on candidates’ petitions. It did a recount and Jana Bobošíková was back in the race.

In public debates she is quick to remind voters that unlike many of her opponents she is one of them.

“I do not engage in politics alone. Every morning I get up, I go to work and run my business. And that keeps me in touch with reality, with everyday life. I know what restrictions entrepreneurs face, I know all about the red tape they have to deal with, the laws that are in place and how they impact your work. That gives me far greater insight into everyday life and people’s concerns than if I were simply an MP or the head of a party.”

Although she has marginal support Ms Bobošíková says the publicity generated by her candidacy will serve her party in the 2014 general elections.