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Political collapse leaves twins in control of Poland

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2261250,00.html July 08, 2006 Political collapse leaves twins in control of Poland By Roger Boyes THE identical
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 8, 2006
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      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2261250,00.html

      July 08, 2006

      Political collapse leaves twins in control of Poland
      By Roger Boyes
      THE identical Kaczynski twins, Europe’s most unusual
      political partnership, last night took over the reins
      of power in Poland after the Government collapsed.

      Jaroslaw Kaczynski will take over as Prime Minister
      from Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, it was announced, ending
      weeks of often bitter in-fighting within the
      conservative Law and Justice Party. Mr Kaczynski, 57,
      is older by a few minutes than Lech Kaczynski, who is
      the country’s President.

      Most Poles cannot tell them apart. One of the few
      distinguishing marks is the cat hairs on the trousers
      of Jaroslaw, who lives alone with his pets.

      The immediate reason for the political crisis appears
      to be talks held between Mr Marcinkiewicz and Donald
      Tusk, leader of the opposition Civic Platform. The
      governing coalition parties suspected that the Prime
      Minister was trying to sound out the terms of a
      possible new coalition. All trust appears to have
      broken down between Mr Marcinkiewicz and one of his
      key allies, the volatile Andrzej Lepper.

      Jaroslaw Kaczynski has always tried to avoid becoming
      Prime Minister because of the apparent absurdity of
      having two identical brothers running the country. But
      the present crisis has left him no choice: without
      him, the right-wing conservative alliance would have
      crumbled.

      It has already become one of the most controversial
      governments in the region. Although the Law and
      Justice-led government is committed to market reform,,
      its strident nationalism and commitment to Catholic
      values has given it the reputation of being the least
      tolerant nation in Eastern Europe.

      The twins are on the same political wavelength. Both
      are sceptical of a more deeply integrated European
      Union, and both are thin-skinned about what they see
      as slighting behaviour by Poland’s big neighbours,
      Germany and Russia.

      The latest dispute this week saw President Kaczynski
      refusing to turn up at a trilateral meeting in Weimar
      with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, and
      President Chirac of France. He claimed to have a
      stomach ailment. Most observers, however, believe he
      was upset by a satirical attack on him carried by a
      low-circulation left-wing German newspaper.
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