FORMER Labour Minister Iveta Radičová, a career academic and sociologist, joined the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party on November 7, and planned to run for a post as vice-chairperson at the November 13 SDKÚ congress.
As an SDKÚ candidate in the June 2006 national elections, Radičová won the most "preferential ballots", a convention in Slovakia whereby voters can indicate their support for individual party candidates.
Radičová won 40,000 more preferential ballots than then-Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.
According to the Sme daily paper, the SDKÚ sees her as a strong candidate for the presidency in the 2009 elections to that post.
Radičová's rise in the SDKÚ comes as the party prepares to get rid of several older members of its leadership, such as former Defense Minister Juraj Liška, former Transport Minister Pavol Prokopovič, and MP and Ružinov Mayor Pavol Kubovič.
Dzurinda said of Radičová's popularity that he has always supported party members who were "better, prettier and abler" than himself.
"The SDKÚ needs new blood," said sociologist Pavel Haulík. "Being in opposition is a different ball of wax than being in government."
13. Nov 2006 at 0:00 | From press reports