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Jarosław Kaczyński

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Jarosław Kaczyński
Jarosław Kaczyński (5) (cropped).jpg
Leader of Law and Justice
Assumed office
18 January 2003
Preceded by Lech Kaczyński
13th Prime Minister of Poland
In office
14 July 2006 – 16 November 2007
President Lech Kaczyński
Deputy Ludwik Dorn
Zyta Gilowska
Przemysław Gosiewski
Andrzej Lepper
Roman Giertych
Preceded by Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz
Succeeded by Donald Tusk
Chief of the Chancellery of the President
In office
22 December 1990 – 31 October 1991
President Lech Wałęsa
Preceded by Michał Janiszewski
Succeeded by Janusz Ziółkowski
Personal details
Born Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński
(1949-06-18) 18 June 1949 (age 68)
Warsaw, Poland
Political party Law and Justice (2001–present)
Other political
Solidarity (Before 1991)
Centre Agreement (1991–1997)
Solidarity Electoral Action (1997–2001)
Alma mater University of Warsaw
University of Gdańsk
Profession Lawyer
Awards St. George's Order of Victory

Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński (Polish pronunciation: [jaˈrɔswaf kaˈʈ͡ʂɨɲskʲi]; born 18 June 1949) is a Polish conservative politician and lawyer.

He cofounded in 2001 and currently chairs the right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS by its Polish acronym).[2][3] Running for PiS, he served as Prime Minister of Poland from July 2006 to November 2007.

Kaczyński has a Doctor of Law degree. He is the identical twin brother of the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński. After the 2007 electoral defeat of PiS, Kaczyński was the leader of the main opposition party to Platforma Obywatelska's governments.

He ran against Bronisław Komorowski in the Polish presidential election on 20 June 2010,[4] which was called following the death of Lech Kaczyński. Kaczyński announced his candidacy, replacing his recently deceased brother.[5][6] He lost to then acting president Komorowski.

Despite formally not heading the PiS candidature for either, Kaczyński is widely considered the mastermind 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 one of the 460 MPs in the Polish parliament, he is seen by some as de facto leader and the most powerful man in Poland.[7]

Kaczyński is considered one of the most influential leaders in the European Union.[by whom?] In 2016, he was named no. 4 among 28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe according to Politico.[7] In stark contrast with the one of other Polish cabinets, Kaczyński's political style has been typically uncompromising and so he is often labelled as a "divisive"[8] or "polarizing"[9] figure.

Personal life

Kaczyński is the identical twin brother of the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński. Jarosław and Lech were born in Warsaw.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12][13] He lived with his ailing mother until her hospitalization.[4] Kaczyński owns no computer and is said to have opened his first bank account only in 2009.[7]

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 officer speculated on Kaczyński's sexual orientation.[14] 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.[15] On top of that, Wałęsa cracked a joke about 'two brothers who arrive at a party – one with his wife and one with his "husband"'. He was alluding to Jarosław Kaczyński having a male sexual partner.[14][16]

Early career

Jarosław Kaczyński was a graduate of law and administration of Warsaw University, which in 1976 awarded him a PhD in Law. In the 1980s, he became a member of the Solidarity trade union. Kaczyński 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).[17]

2005 elections

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.[18] 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.

Kaczyński was the architect of the coalition with the left wing populist Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Samoobrona) and the conservative Christian League of Polish Families party. 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.

Critics accuse this first PiS term of allegedly splitting the country over religious and cultural issues and picking "needless fights with Germany and the European Union".[8][15]

Prime Minister

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.[19][20][21]

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.[22] Kaczyński's government was criticized both at home and abroad for poor foreign relationships with Germany and Russia.[23]

2007 parliamentary election

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

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.[4][24] Kaczyński was seen to have softened his image during the campaign, in order to win centrist voters.[25] On 11 May 2010, he made a televised address to Russia, greeting his 'Russian friends' and praising the millions of Russians who died fighting in World War II.[26] 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– )

Jaroslaw Kaczynski during XIII Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdrój

In order to win over moderates, rather than running himself for either election, Kaczyński put forward a more moderate PiS member, Andrzej Duda, as his party's candidate in the 2015 presidential election. For the 2015 parliamentary election PiS put forward another moderate, Beata Szydło, as its candidate for prime minister.[27] The manoeuvres paid off, as PiS won both elections.[27] In the case of the parliamentary election, PiS became the first party to win an outright majority since the fall of Communism.[28][29] 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 isn’t trustworthy compared to Duda or Szydło.[27]

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.[7]

Political views

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

Despite sustained economic successes since the country turned into a Western-type democracy in 1990, many Poles remain critical of the current republic. The country's healthcare and pension systems are ailing and its former communist cadres and networks still pepper the ranks of management in major corporations.[15]

In this regard, 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[8] and reverting Poland back to its conservative, Catholic roots and away from a multi-cultural European mainstream. In April 2016, he stated that he saw the Szydło government as an "experiment" that he is actively monitoring.[27]

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 a "divisive"[8] or "polarizing"[9] figure. In particular, under his watch the PiS has been accused of clamping down on public broadcasters and the judiciary.[30]

See also


  1. ^ "Premier: nie akceptuję gry politycznej Giertycha" (in Polish). Wirtualna Polska. 20 March 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  2. ^ Gwiazda, Anna. Democracy in Poland: Representation, Participation, Competition and Accountability Since 1989. Routledge, 2015, p. 63
  3. ^ Poland turns right: A conservative enigma. The Economist, October 31st 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Champion, Marc (24 April 2010). "Kaczynski Poised for Presidential Bid in Poland". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "Twin to Run for Polish President". BBC News. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (26 April 2010). "Ex-Leader's Twin Declares Run in Poland". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Jarosław Kaczyński". Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d "He's back". The Economist. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Polish right wing populist politician, a polarizing figure
  10. ^ Day, Matthew (27 September 2005). "Twins who stole the Moon are poised to run away with Poland". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 July 2007. 
  11. ^ Araloff, Simon (23 September 2005). "Kaczynski Brothers: Movie Stars That Turned Politicians". Axis News. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  12. ^ Easton, Adam (23 May 2007). "Ryanair faces legal row over ad". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "Kaczyński i Szczypińska: znowu miłość?" (in Polish). 22 January 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  14. ^ a b The Warsaw pact, Timesonline Archived 17 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ a b c "Poland's Kaczynski Brothers:Seeing Double in Warsaw". Spiegel Online. 20 July 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  16. ^ de Quetteville, Harry (7 September 2007). "How a joke sparked a political feud in Poland". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "Jaroslaw Kaczynski at Encyklopedia Solidarnosci" (in Polish). Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  18. ^ Easton, Adam (21 September 2006). "Polish twins in leadership race". London: BBC News. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  19. ^ "Poland's Prime Minister Resigns". London: BBC News. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  20. ^ "Polish President Appoints His Twin Brother as Premier". Bloomberg. 10 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  21. ^ "Polish Head Swears in Twin as PM". BBC News. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  22. ^ Europress Research (19 April 2010). "Poland Post April 10th 2010". Europress Research. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "A winter honyemoon". The Economist. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  24. ^ Präsidentenwahl in Polen: Kaczynski will seinen Bruder beerben (in German). Spiegel Online, 26 April 2010.
  25. ^ "ANALYSIS-Poland's Kaczynski eyes middle ground ahead of vote". Reuters. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  26. ^ "Kaczynski's Address to the Russian Nation". YouTube. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  27. ^ a b c d Strzelecki, Marek (18 April 2016). "Staring Down Critics, Poland's Kaczynski Urges Faster Change". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  28. ^ "Poland Ousts Government as Law & Justice Gains Historic Majority". Bloomberg. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  29. ^ "Poland elections: Conservatives secure decisive win". 25 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  30. ^ Poland after a Year of Populist Rule, SPIEGEL ONLINE

External links

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