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The rise of Lech Kaczynski

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The rise of Lech Kaczynski


Voting in parliamentary elections last month, the Kaczynski twins could have been forgiven a secret smile. It seemed likely that at least one of them would soon have a leading political role.

The victory of their Law and Justice party in parliamentary polls reinforced this, so much so that Jaroslav Kaczynski gave up the position of prime minister. He had already said he would do so if his brother won, unwilling for the pair to govern side by side. The brothers first found fame as child actors, in a film version of the popular children’s book The Two That Stole The Moon. But during the campaigns – both parliamentary and presidential – the brothers took care not to appear together, to avoid identical twin confusion. After starting off the presidential campaign on the backfoot, Lech gained ground in the polls to go into the vote on an equal footing. Despite his jovial appearence, Lech’s sentiments are tough. He kicked off his campaign with a television advert that promised nothing less than a moral revolution. Like his main rival Donald Tusk, Lech was heavily involved in the Solidarity movement. He served as attorney general and minister of justice before becoming mayor of Warsaw, where he made no secret of his Catholic convictions – twice banning a gay parade. Since the Law and Justice party won the parliamentary elections, he has been invited by European Commission President Jose Barroso to speak on the future challenges of the EU and the political future of Poland – a future that he will now help shape.
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