September 24, 2005


In Poland, Twins Shoot for Moon: Siblings Run in Pair of National Elections (Craig Whitlock, 9/25/05, Washington Post)

When they were kids, the Kaczynski twins were a pair of tricksters. Friends could barely tell them apart, let alone teachers. Jaroslaw, the older by 45 minutes, would take science tests for his brother, Lech, who would return the favor on language exams.

Today, the Kaczynski brothers are teaming up again, this time in a bid to take over the Polish government. Lech is running for president on Oct. 9. Jaroslaw is mounting a separate campaign to become prime minister in parliamentary elections Sunday.

The brothers' Law and Justice party, of which Jaroslaw Kaczynski is chairman, is locked in a dead heat with its chief rival, the Civic Platform, for control of Parliament, opinion surveys show. Lech Kaczynski, the mayor of Warsaw, is trailing in the presidential contest by a margin of several points, according to recent polls. But analysts say both contests remain highly volatile and that there is a real chance the twins could gain joint control of the country.

The Kaczynskis' chubby faces have been a familiar sight in Poland since 1962, when as 12-year-old actors they hit it big in the movies, playing identical twins in the classic Polish children's movie "Those Two Who Would Steal the Moon."

They returned to prominence in the 1980s, playing key roles in the Solidarity trade union movement that helped end communism in Poland, and have remained active in national politics since then.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 24, 2005 11:00 PM
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