Buxom Dolly Buster and sportsmen jazz up EU election

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 June, 2004, 12:00am

As voter apathy reaches new lows in the lead-up to elections for the European Parliament on Sunday, a string of celebrity candidates, including a racing car driver, a cover girl and several sportsmen, are adding a touch of colour to the otherwise lacklustre campaigns.

Katerina Bochnickova, a buxom former porn star and crime novelist better known as Dolly Buster, believes she has what it takes for European politics. Ms Bochnickova is leading her party list, the Independent Initiative Movement, with the motto 'more eroticism for the people', and claims to have between 15 to 70 per cent support in some regions across the Czech Republic.

Former sports champion Peter Stastny will be standing for office in Slovakia. Despite having lived in Canada for the past 20 years, the 1980s hockey star is still popular among Slovaks. He was hailed by Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda as 'the best nomination for Slovakia'.

Other sports celebrities standing for election include Estonian decathlon gold medallist Erki Nool, Italian former cross-country skiing champion Manuela di Centa, Slovenian soccer player Mladen Rudonja and Finnish racing champion Ari Vatanen, who is running for office in France.

'I hesitated before going for it, but I realised that if I didn't present myself in France, I wasn't a true European,' Vatanen said. 'You have to go beyond national interests, which are short term.'

Other famous candidates include Nobel Prize-winning writer Jose Saramago from Portugal, supermodel Carmen Kass from Estonia and Italian journalist Lilli Gruber.

But most of these unusual contestants will end their political careers by Sunday. 'From the candidates' point of view, our survey seems to confirm that the European elections are regarded as a second-order contest, with the top-figures remaining above the fray,' said a report on the elections by the European Policy Institute Network.

'As a consequence, the [European] lists consist of a mix of young talents and 'old hands',' the majority from a political background.