Late Poland president's twin runs to replace him

Former PM said he would carry on his brother's mission.

April 26, 2010 19:13
1 minute read.
Poland's President Lech Kaczynski

Lech Kaczynski 311. (photo credit: AP)

WARSAW, Poland — Former Polish prime minister announced Monday he was entering the presidential elections to be held in June, following the death of his twin brother Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash over Russia two weeks ago.

Main opposition party, Law and Justice (PiS), leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, 60, said he will run to carry on the mission of his brother and others killed in the crash.

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"The good of Poland is a common duty that requires an ability to overcome personal suffering, to undertake the task despite a personal tragedy," Kaczynski said in a written statement.

The elections were moved up to June 20 after President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and 94 others – including top civilian and military leaders – were killed April 10 in Smolensk, Russia, en route to World War II observances. They were to pay respect to some 22,000 Polish officers killed in 1940 by the Soviet secret security in the Katyn forest and in other places.

The president's term was to expire in December and elections had been planned in the fall. The incumbent had been expected to seek a second five-year term.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski is not married. His closest family are his mother, Jadwiga, 83, long ill, and niece Marta, 30, the daughter of the late president.

Another candidate, Parliamentary Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, is now acting president after automatically taking over the duties following the incumbent's death. He is with the governing Civic Platform party and is currently the front-runner in the polls.

The third major figure in the race is Grzegorz Napieralski of the Democratic Left Alliance, who is running in the stead of Jerzy Szmajdzinski, who was killed in the same plane crash as Kaczynski.

If no candidate musters more then 50 percent of vote, a runoff will be held July 4.

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