New MP shares her feelings

This week saw the opening session of the newly elected 200 member Lower House of Parliament. It was a change of guard conducted under intense media scrutiny. The newly elected deputies moved into their offices, appointed their aides, attended their first committee meetings and gave their first interviews to the press. Eva Novakova, a former teacher and a mother of two, is one of 34 women in the Lower House. Earlier DL asked her to share her impressions of the opening session.

"It was a really festive occasion, a lot of ceremony. In the morning we got our election certificates and then we were sworn in."

How do you feel now that you've been elected to this post?

"Well, I am mixed up all the time to be honest because it is a big change in my life. I must leave my job which is quite sad for me but on the other hand I think it will be really interesting and there will be many things which I can't even imagine at this point. They say it takes all of six months to get to know the ropes and for things to settle down properly."

Do you actually feel committed to vote along party lines or will you be making your own decisions?

"Of course there will be laws which we will be able to consider and make up our own minds about but in some cases if you are not a member of the respective committee it may be difficult to get the right perspective -to see all that is involved- and in such cases you must trust your colleagues and I hope that they will trust my judgment if I prepare some legislation about schools and education in general."

You appear to be set on a political career now. What would you like to achieve?

"Well, I would like to help teachers because I am a former teacher and I know that they need some help. I would also like to help young people to get an easier start in life ...flats, an education free of charge and so on."

How do you feel about being one of the relatively few women in Parliament ?

"Yes, the number of women in Parliament is below 17% which is a pity. Things are quite difficult for Czech women in this respect because there is still a widespread belief that women are first and foremost homemakers. Politics is still considered more of a man's realm which is a pity because there are many issues which are more suited to women -matters pertaining to children, family, schools and so on. And it is also interesting to note what women think about other issues which may be considered more suited to men."

Do you expect to be treated differently now that you are an MP?

"I hope not. It is true that some people's behavior towards me has changed, and I am very unhappy about that because I am still the same person and I would like to communicate with other people just to make sure that I see the reality as it is - not as it may seem from the Parliament windows."