Jarosław Kaczyński

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Jarosław Kaczyński
Jarosław Kaczyński (5) (cropped).jpg
Chairman of Law and Justice
Assumed office
18 January 2003
Preceded byLech Kaczyński
13th Prime Minister of Poland
In office
14 July 2006 – 16 November 2007
PresidentLech Kaczyński
DeputyLudwik Dorn
Zyta Gilowska
Przemysław Gosiewski
Andrzej Lepper
Roman Giertych
Preceded byKazimierz Marcinkiewicz
Succeeded byDonald Tusk
Chief of the Chancellery of the President
In office
22 December 1990 – 31 October 1991
PresidentLech Wałęsa
Preceded byMichał Janiszewski
Succeeded byJanusz Ziółkowski
Personal details
Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński

(1949-06-18) 18 June 1949 (age 69)
Warsaw, Poland
Political partyLaw and Justice (2001–present)
Other political
Solidarity (before 1991)
Centre Agreement (1991–1997)
Solidarity Electoral Action (1997–2001)
Alma materUniversity of Warsaw (PhD)
AwardsSt. George's Order of Victory

Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński (Polish pronunciation: [jaˈrɔswaf kaˈtʂɨj̃skʲi] (About this soundlisten); born 18 June 1949) is a Polish politician and lawyer, and the current leader of the Law and Justice party (PiS by its Polish acronym), which he co-founded in 2001 with his identical twin brother, the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński.[1][2] Running for PiS, he served as Prime Minister of Poland from July 2006 to November 2007. After PiS's electoral defeat in 2007, Kaczyński was the main leader of the opposition to Civic Platform's governments.

He ran against then acting President Bronisław Komorowski in the Polish presidential election on 20 June 2010,[3] which was called following the death of Lech Kaczyński. Kaczyński announced his candidacy, replacing his recently deceased brother,[4][5] but lost.

Despite not being the PiS candidate for either President or Prime Minister, Kaczyński is widely considered a large influence behind the PiS victories in both the 2015 presidential and 2015 parliamentary elections. Even though he does not serve as either prime minister or president, and is formally just a member of the Sejm, he is considered one of the most influential men in Poland, as well as an influential leader in the European Union.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Kaczyński is the identical twin brother of the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński. Jarosław and Lech were born in Warsaw.[7]

The Kaczyński brothers are sons of Rajmund (an engineer who served as a soldier of the Armia Krajowa in World War II and a veteran of the Warsaw Uprising) and Jadwiga (a philologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences).

As children, Jarosław and Lech Kaczyński starred in the 1962 Polish film The Two Who Stole the Moon (Polish: O dwóch takich, co ukradli księżyc), based on a popular children's story by Kornel Makuszyński.[8]

Kaczyński resides in Warsaw. He is not married, but there were rumours about a close love relationship with one of his unmarried employees, MP Jolanta Szczypińska.[9][10] He lived with his ailing mother until her hospitalization.[3] Kaczyński owns no computer and is said to have opened his first bank account only in 2009.[6]

In 2006, the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported on communist-era secret service files which documented a discussion on his sexuality. In the files, a former SB (Służba Bezpieczeństwa) officer speculated on Kaczyński's sexual orientation.[11] Relations between Lech Wałęsa and Kaczyński have for many years been strained drawing from their opposite stances regarding Poland's communist past: Wałęsa preferred to focus on the future and "allow the past to remain the past", while the Kaczyński brothers strived to destroy any remnant of the country's former communist networks.[12]

Early career[edit]

Kaczyński was a graduate of law and administration of Warsaw University, which in 1976 awarded him a PhD in Law. He was the executive editor of the Tygodnik Solidarność weekly in 1989–91.

In 1991, he created the centrist, Christian democratic Centre Agreement party and later became its chairman, remaining in the role until 1998. In the years 1991–93 and 1997–2005, Kaczyński was a member of the Polish Parliament (Sejm).[13]

In 1991, he worked under direction of President Lech Wałęsa as the head of his presidential chancellery.[14]

President Wałęsa fired Kaczyński, who then became the leader of movement against Wałęsa. One of the main means of attack was describing Wałęsa as communist agent. During this time took place the event of setting fire under Walesa's effigy during protest organized by Kaczyński.[15]

2005 elections[edit]

Polish Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński with Pope Benedict XVI

Kaczyński was the Law and Justice prime ministerial candidate in the September 2005 Polish parliamentary election.[16] However, when the party emerged as winner of the election, he pledged that he would not take the position, expecting that his nomination would reduce the chances of his brother Lech Kaczyński, who was a candidate for the October presidential election. Party-member Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz was appointed Prime Minister.

In the succeeding months, he was a frontbench MP and the leader of his party. Many also described Kaczyński as Poland's most influential politician. He was said to have enormous influence on the Prime Minister's decision-making process. Kaczyński was the architect of the coalition with the populist Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Samoobrona) and the far-right League of Polish Families party.

Critics accuse the first PiS government of allegedly splitting the country over religious and cultural issues and picking "needless fights with Germany and the European Union".[17][12]

Prime Minister[edit]

Polish Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński with U.S. President George W. Bush
Polish Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero

Following reports of a rift between Kaczyński and Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, the latter tendered his resignation on 7 July 2006. Kaczyński was appointed prime minister by his brother, Lech Kaczyński, on 10 July, and sworn in on 14 July, following the formation of a cabinet and a confidence vote in the Sejm.[18][19][20]

At the request of his government, Parliament lowered PIT and rent tax. Kaczyński controversially initiated a nationwide program (lustracja) which required thousands of public employees, teachers, and journalists to formally declare whether or not they had collaborated with the security services of the former communist regime.[21] Kaczyński's government was criticized both at home and abroad for poor foreign relationships with Germany and Russia.[22]

2007 parliamentary election[edit]

Despite gaining votes, Law and Justice lost the parliamentary election on 21 October 2007, finishing a distant second behind pro-European Christian-democratic and conservative liberal Civic Platform. Kaczyński was succeeded as prime minister by Donald Tusk (after which Kaczyński remained chairman of Law and Justice, becoming leader of the opposition).

2010 presidential election[edit]

Jaroslaw Kaczynski speaking on National Independence Day

Following the death of his brother, Lech Kaczyński, Jarosław announced that he would run for president against Bronisław Komorowski in the presidential elections held on 20 June 2010.[3][23] The head of his electoral staff from Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, and the spokesperson of the staff Paweł Poncyljusz. Kaczyński was seen to have softened his image during the campaign, in order to win centrist voters.[24] The campaign's motto was Poland is the most important.[25] He got 36.46% of the votes in the first round, while acting president Bronisław Komorowski got 41.54%. He was defeated in the second round, getting 46.99% of the votes, while Komorowski got 53.01%, which made him the winner.

Return to power (2015)[edit]

Jaroslaw Kaczynski during XIII Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdrój

In order to win over moderates, rather than running as PiS' candidate for president or prime minister, Kaczyński put forward more moderate PiS members in the 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections. Andrzej Duda ran as PiS presidential candidate, while Beata Szydło was its candidate for prime minister.[26] The manoeuvres paid off, as PiS won both elections.[26] In the case of the parliamentary election, PiS became the first party to win an outright majority since the end of Communism.[27][28] But despite being a very popular leader among PiS' most loyal base, he himself remains unpopular for the wider public, with some polls showing that more Poles think Kaczyński is not trustworthy compared to Duda or Szydło.[26]

Currently, despite formally being just one of the 460 MPs in the Polish Parliament's lower house (Sejm), Kaczyński is amongst the most influential politicians in Poland.[6] He is considered the de facto ruler of Poland, from whom President and Prime Minister take orders.[29] On 19 November 2017, President of the European Council Donald Tusk warned that Kaczyński's leadership played into the Kremlin's hands and endangered the independence of Poland.[30]

Political views[edit]

Jaroslaw Kaczynski speaking at third anniversary of the state funeral of his brother Lech Kaczyński

Kaczyński's project is said to consist of a "moral revolution" culminating in the creation of a "fourth republic" drawing a radical break from the compromises surrounding the fall of communism in Poland[17] and reverting Poland back to its conservative, Roman Catholic roots and away from a multi-cultural styled Western European mainstream. In April 2016, he stated that he saw the Szydło government as an "experiment" that he is actively monitoring.[26]

Drawing from his strong, uncompromising views (specially regarding parts of the political, cultural and media elite, which he sees as remnants or heirs of the former communist networks), Kaczyński is often labelled as "polarizing".[31]

In recent years, he was also known as an activist for animal rights, and, among other things, undertook activities aimed at banning the breeding of fur animals.[32]

Private life[edit]

Kaczyński has never married and does not have children.[33]

He is also a cat owner.[34]

In popular culture[edit]

The main character of the political satire web series The Chairman's Ear, chairman Jarosław, is modeled on Kaczyński.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gwiazda, Anna. Democracy in Poland: Representation, Participation, Competition and Accountability Since 1989. Routledge, 2015, p. 63
  2. ^ Poland turns right: A conservative enigma. The Economist, October 31st 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Champion, Marc (24 April 2010). "Kaczynski Poised for Presidential Bid in Poland". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  4. ^ "Twin to Run for Polish President". BBC News. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  5. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (26 April 2010). "Ex-Leader's Twin Declares Run in Poland". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  6. ^ a b c "Jarosław Kaczyński". Politico.eu. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  7. ^ Day, Matthew (27 September 2005). "Twins who stole the Moon are poised to run away with Poland". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 July 2007.
  8. ^ Araloff, Simon (23 September 2005). "Kaczynski Brothers: Movie Stars That Turned Politicians". Axis News. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  9. ^ Easton, Adam (23 May 2007). "Ryanair faces legal row over ad". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  10. ^ "Kaczyński i Szczypińska: znowu miłość?" (in Polish). Deser.pl. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  11. ^ The Warsaw pact, Timesonline Archived 17 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ a b "Poland's Kaczynski Brothers:Seeing Double in Warsaw". Spiegel Online. 20 July 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Jaroslaw Kaczynski at Encyklopedia Solidarnosci" (in Polish). Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  14. ^ Matraszek, Marek (26 October 1991). "The President's Man". spectator.co.uk. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  15. ^ Hinshaw, Drew; Walker, Marcus (22 January 2018). "Poland's New Nationalist Rulers Are Erasing Lech Walesa From History". wsj.com. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  16. ^ Easton, Adam (21 September 2006). "Polish twins in leadership race". London: BBC News. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  17. ^ a b "He's back". The Economist. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Poland's Prime Minister Resigns". London: BBC News. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  19. ^ "Polish President Appoints His Twin Brother as Premier". Bloomberg. 10 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  20. ^ "Polish Head Swears in Twin as PM". BBC News. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  21. ^ Europress Research (19 April 2010). "Poland Post April 10th 2010". Europress Research. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  22. ^ "A winter honyemoon". The Economist. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  23. ^ Präsidentenwahl in Polen: Kaczynski will seinen Bruder beerben (in German). Spiegel Online, 26 April 2010.
  24. ^ "ANALYSIS-Poland's Kaczynski eyes middle ground ahead of vote". Reuters. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  25. ^ "Hasło Kaczyńskiego: "Polska jest najważniejsza"". tvn24.pl. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  26. ^ a b c d Strzelecki, Marek (18 April 2016). "Staring Down Critics, Poland's Kaczynski Urges Faster Change". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  27. ^ "Poland Ousts Government as Law & Justice Gains Historic Majority". Bloomberg. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  28. ^ "Poland elections: Conservatives secure decisive win". BBC News. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  29. ^ "Poland's de facto leader slams president, wants to restore 'moral order'". Politico. 28 July 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Donald Tusk signals return to Polish politics with tweet attack". Financial Times. (Subscription required (help)).
  31. ^ Hoppe, Ralf; Puhl, Jan (8 December 2016). "Poland after a Year of Populist Rule". Spiegel Online International. Retrieved 25 September 2017. "The conservative party leader is considered highly intelligent and well educated, but he is also a polarizing figure."
  32. ^ "Kaczyński apeluje z ekranu w Brukseli: niech futra przejdą do historii". tvn24.pl (TVN24). 23 January 2018.
  33. ^ Santora, Marc (16 June 2018). "After a President's Shocking Death, a Suspicious Twin Reshapes a Nation". New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  34. ^ Wilczak, Jagienka (2017-11-09). "Koniec z biznesem futrzarskim i psami na łańcuchach. Przełom w ochronie zwierząt". Polityka. Retrieved 25 August 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Michał Janiszewski
Chief of the Chancellery of the President
Succeeded by
Janusz Ziółkowski
Preceded by
Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz
Prime Minister of Poland
Succeeded by
Donald Tusk
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lech Kaczyński
Leader of Law and Justice
Preceded by
Lech Kaczyński
Law and Justice nominee for President of Poland
Succeeded by
Andrzej Duda