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TOP WOMAN AMONG THE NEW CITIZEN'S ALLIANCE PARTY OF PAVOL RUSKO SAYS HER BOSS GAVE HER THE "WORST OFFER" HE COULD GIVE HER - JOINING POLITICS

Ano are Černá's type of people

EVA Černá, a popular presenter from the private TV Markíza, launched and owned by Pavol Rusko, admits to being forced into politics by her one-time TV boss, now leader of the non-parliamentary New Citizens Alliance (Ano) party.
Černá, a former Markíza reporter whose beat was crime and social issues, hopes to work in the social sphere if her party enters parliament after the September elections. She was one Ano's founding members in April 2001 and is currently number four on the party's candidate list.
But her political entry was not quite a voluntary move; rather, Černá says, she succumbed to the continuous convincing of Rusko himself.


EVA Černá, Ano's number four.
photo: TASR

EVA Černá, a popular presenter from the private TV Markíza, launched and owned by Pavol Rusko, admits to being forced into politics by her one-time TV boss, now leader of the non-parliamentary New Citizens Alliance (Ano) party.

Černá, a former Markíza reporter whose beat was crime and social issues, hopes to work in the social sphere if her party enters parliament after the September elections. She was one Ano's founding members in April 2001 and is currently number four on the party's candidate list.

But her political entry was not quite a voluntary move; rather, Černá says, she succumbed to the continuous convincing of Rusko himself.

"I told him [Rusko] a number of times not to bother me with such things, that I do not want to have anything to do with politics, because I despise it," said Černá laughingly in an interview with The Slovak Spectator August 7.

Resisting the ongoing offers for several months, Černá finally said yes.

"I told him, that this is the worst offer he ever could have given me, because it makes me suffer," she joked.

For observers, recruiting Černá was a clever move by Rusko.

"Rusko considers her someone who can attract some voters who know her from the TV screen," said political analyst Grigorij Mesežnikov, describing TV Markíza as "an opinion-forming institution with a large audience and the power to shape the political views of many."

But Černá has a different explanation of why she was Rusko's pick.


ČERNÁ (right) entered politics after lengthy persuasion by Ano boss and founder Pavol Rusko (centre).
photo: TASR

"He [Rusko] was looking for a woman interested in social issues and, unfortunately at that time he could only think of me," she said, although admitting that her TV fame certainly was a factor too. Now Černá says she has become used to the work and enjoys it a lot: "I feel well as part of the team; they [Ano] are my type of people."

Apart from her political work, she is also a board member at the Markíza Foundation, established in November 1999, which Mesežnikov has dubbed, "a part of Ano's media presentation".

"We [the Markíza foundation], are one serious company," Černá counters. "We participate in a number of projects, and we do it from the heart."

Rusko chairs the foundation's board while other members include Jozef Pročko, Jana Hospodárová and Kvetka Horváthová, all well-know personalities from Markíza, and all involved in Ano's election campaign.

"We are all a normal family, one functional family," Černá said about the relationship between people from the TV station, the foundation and the party.

A July report produced by the Memo98 monitoring organisation showed that Černá had received nearly four minutes of coverage on TV Markíza between July 2001 and June 2002, with all mentions being either positive (3) or neutral (18). The report also pointed out that in one third of the items, she had been presented as a representative of the Markíza foundation rather than a political figure.

However, Černá does not think that TV coverage has misrepresented her or the Ano party's importance.

"I cannot just let the foundation go and ask everyone not to give me any attention," she said, explaining that coverage of her was a result of the foundation's hard work.

During the communist regime, Černá was prosecuted because her former husband had emigrated to the West. But the fact that several of her Ano colleagues are former members of the Communist party does not seem to bother her too much.

Out of the fourteen people who helped Rusko establish Ano, six were members of the Communist party including Rusko.

Jozef Banáš, Ano's secretary general and former press attaché at the Czechoslovak embassy in East Germany from 1983 to 1988, is listed in the records of the Communist secret service as an agent. He has denied cooperating with the intelligence services and said he does not even know how his name got into the records.

"Diplomacy is in its way a part of the intelligence service," he told journalists in April 2001.

"Naturally I personally despise all atrocities that occurred under communism," Černá said but added that she has no right to judge individual people for being communists.

Rusko too was a prominent member of the Communist youth organisation, the Socialist youth union (SZM), and later also a member of the Communist party proper.

"I think when they entered [in the 1980s], [the regime] was not so bad anymore," she said.

In her book entitled "Reporter's confession," published in 1999, Černá described her view of the country's situation, a view she still holds, although she now sees a chance for Slovakia.

"Slovakia has always been known for being a couple of years behind the monkeys. Even today we are trying to catch one of the last trains to Europe, but we'll be glad if we are allowed to at least run on the rails behind the last wagon," reads her book.

Today she hopes that skilful people will become more involved in public life to help the country catch that train.

She sees her political future in the parliament, working on social issues such as abused women and children, although, unlike the majority of politicians she actually wants to leave politics quite soon.

"I hope that I will not stay there long, four years at the most."

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