Prime minister seeks divorce day after birth of his fourth child

Nicolas Topolanek and Lucie Talmanova, photo: CTK

A happy-looking mother and baby are all over Thursday's newspapers here in the Czech Republic. But they aren't just any mother and child; the new mum is MP Lucie Talmanova, while the babe in her arms is the son of the prime minister, Mirek Topolanek. On Wednesday the Civic Democrat leader announced he would seek a divorce. This may not be so easy, though, as his wife has so far refused to give her consent.

Nicolas Topolanek and Lucie Talmanova,  photo: CTK
Nicolas Topolanek was born at 16.47 on Tuesday and weighed 3 kilos. His father had pulled out of a state visit to Africa to be present at the birth. A spokesperson for the prime minister said the happy parents had spontaneously agreed on the name Nicolas, which is rather unusual in Czech.

A day later Mr. Topolanek called a news conference to announce his intention to get a divorce. He said that was a matter of two people, pointing to the fact that he still didn't have the consent of his wife Pavla.

Mirek Topolanek,  photo: CTK
Mr Topolanek, 51, said he fully respected his wife, who he married in 1979, adding added that if she gave her consent to the divorce, he would be willing to give her their joint flat at Prague's Hradcany and still continue to pay the mortgage.

The news about the prime minister's affair with Ms Talmanova, who is 39, came to light last summer. In January this year, he publicly announced that he had separated from his wife and that he was living with his Civic Democrat party colleague. In April, he also announced they were expecting a child, Ms Talmanova's first. Mr Topolanek admits he may have not been a good husband, but says he wants to remain a good father. In case it is necessary, he can take care of all of his four children as well as his grand-daughter.

Just a few weeks ago, the man who preceded Mirek Topolanek as prime minister also announced he was leaving his wife. However, Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek may have scored a few points against his rival; his immediate announcement that he was seeking a divorce went down better with commentators than Mr Topolanek's protracted separation. Pavla Topolankova, meanwhile, has refused to comment on the whole matter.