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Late Polish President’s Identical Twin Bids to Succeed Him

Poland’s opposition Law & Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski will run for the presidency, seeking to succeed his twin brother Lech, who was killed in a plane crash on April 10, a party official said.

Marek Kuchcinski, acting head of the party’s parliamentary caucus, said by phone today that Kaczynski would run for the post his brother was likely to seek re-election for in June.

“The president’s life was tragically cut short and the death of Poland’s patriotic elite means only one thing for us: we need to complete their mission,” Kaczynski wrote in a statement published by the PAP newswire in Warsaw.

Opinion polls show Kaczynski trailing parliamentary speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of the ruling Civic Platform party. The nomination may revive long-running disputes between the parties, including issues such as public spending, euro adoption and foreign policy. The parties clashed in 2005 when Lech Kaczynski became president and Jaroslaw prime minister.

Law & Justice was defeated by Civic Platform in a 2007 parliamentary election and has had public support of as much as 30 percent since then.

“Jaroslaw Kaczynski has an extremely negative electorate and even if that distrust has softened a bit during mourning for the late president, people will recall their feelings in a few weeks,” said Beata Laciak, a sociology professor at Warsaw University. “It may be even worse than before because people will view him as a political animal rather than a normal human being who wouldn’t be able to undertake a presidential campaign after such a tragedy.”

Poland’s election law requires presidential candidates to register no less than 55 days before an election. With a vote set for June 20 that gives parties until today by 4:15 p.m. in Warsaw to officially name their candidates.

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