Friday, June 17, 2005

Double trouble 

This man is likely to be Poland's next Prime Minister:

And this man is likely to be Poland'’s next President:

Or is it the other way around? And what the hell?

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you - Poland might become the first country in history to be led by identical twins.

Even better, Lech (yes, there's that name again) and Jaroslaw Kaczynski are both conservatives, anti-corruption anti-government waste crusaders, and staunch supporters of the US alliance (as well as Poland's involvement in Iraq).

The Kaczynski brothers, who already rarely appear together in public to avoid creating confusion, have the potential to sow utter chaos among the ranks of foreign correspondents and commentators - not to mention photojournalists.

Lech and Jaroslaw became famous early in their lives, staring in a classic Polish children's movie "About Those Two That Stole The Moon" - I remember watching its re-runs when I was a child in the 1970s. Needless to say, I had no idea I was watching two prominent future political figures (experience, I'm sure, shared by many early fans of Reagan films).

Opposition figures once grown up, Lech and Jaroslaw really came to prominence in the 1990s, up and down but rarely out of the kaleidoscope that is Polish post-communist politics. Now, Lech, formerly a professor of law, is the Lord Mayor of Warsaw and has already started his campaign for Presidency, open when Aleksander Kwasniewski finishes his term later this year. The latest polling has Lech leading the field with 26 per cent of support - funnily enough, Poles seem to be so sick and tired of left-wingers at the top that the second and the third leading contenders are also of the center-right.

And Jaroslaw, "only" a doctor of law (it must run in the family), is the leader of Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (Law and Justice) party, currently a fraction more popular of the two major opposition center-right parties (the other, Citizens Platform, is the more classically liberal, pro-market one of the two) who are looking likely to trash the corrupt and inept (though also pro-American) post communist social democrats. This makes Jaroslaw the first in line to be the next Prime Minister (here's an interview in English with Jaroslaw to give you a bit more idea where he's coming from).

Poland -– twice the right, twice the fun.

(hat tip to BBC for inspiring this post and to Mad Minerva for bringing it to my attention.)


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