Jarosław Kaczyński

Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński (Polish pronunciation: [jaˈrɔswaf kaˈtʂɨj̃skʲi] (About this soundlisten); born 18 June 1949) is a Polish politician (christian socialist) and lawyer who is currently serving as leader of the Law and Justice party (known by its Polish acronym PiS), which he co-founded in 2001 with his twin brother, Lech Kaczyński, who served as president of Poland.

Jarosław Kaczyński
Jarosław Kaczyński Sejm 2016a (cropped).JPG
Jarosław Kaczyński in 2016
13th Prime Minister of Poland
In office
14 July 2006 – 16 November 2007
PresidentLech Kaczyński
DeputyLudwik Dorn
Zyta Gilowska
Przemysław Gosiewski
Andrzej Lepper
Roman Giertych
Preceded byKazimierz Marcinkiewicz
Succeeded byDonald Tusk
Leader of Law and Justice
Assumed office
18 January 2003
Ludwik Dorn
Przemysław Gosiewski
Marek Kuchciński
Przemysław Gosiewski
Grażyna Gęsicka
Marek Kuchciński
Mariusz Błaszczak
Ryszard Terlecki
Preceded byLech Kaczyński
Member of the Sejm
Assumed office
31 October 1997
ConstituencyWarsaw I
In office
6 December 1991 – 26 October 1993
ConstituencyWarsaw I
Personal details
Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński

(1949-06-18) 18 June 1949 (age 71)
Warsaw, Poland
Political partyLaw and Justice (2001–present)
Other political
Solidarity (before 1991)
Centre Agreement (1991–1997)
Solidarity Electoral Action (1997–2001)
Alma materUniversity of Warsaw (PhD)
AwardsSt. George's Order of Victory

Running for PiS, he served as the prime minister of Poland from July 2006 to November 2007, while his brother was the president of Poland. After PiS's electoral defeat in 2007, Kaczyński was the main leader of the opposition during Civic Platform's governments.

Following the death of his brother in a plane crash, Jarosław Kaczyński ran in the 2010 Polish presidential election losing to Bronisław Komorowski.

Early lifeEdit

Kaczyński was born on 18 June 1949, the identical twin brother of Lech Kaczyński. They were born in Warsaw.[1] His father was Raymund Kaczyński (1922–2005), an engineer who served as a soldier in the Armia Krajowa in World War II, and his mother was Jadwiga Kaczyńska (1926–2013), a philologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences. As children, he starred with his brother in the 1962 Polish film The Two Who Stole the Moon (Polish: O dwóch takich, co ukradli księżyc), based on a popular children's story by Kornel Makuszyński.[2] Kaczynski studied law at the Warsaw University's Faculty of Law and Administration, where in 1976 he obtained a Doctor of Law (LL.D.) degree after completing a dissertation titled "The role of collegial bodies in governing institutions of higher education" under the supervision of Stanisław Ehrlich.[3]

Anti-communist activismEdit

During the communist-era, Kaczynski was an activist with the anti-communist democratic opposition, and worked for several opposition organizations including Workers' Defence Committee, Committee for Social Self-Defense, and the Solidarity trade union.[4] Kaczyński was also the executive editor of the Tygodnik Solidarność weekly magazine from 1989 to 1991.[5]

Political careerEdit

Jarosław Kaczynski with his brother Lech, family and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006


In 1991, he created the centrist, Christian democratic Centre Agreement party and later became its chairman, remaining in the role until 1998. In the years 1991 to 1993 and since 1997, Kaczyński was a member of the Sejm.[6] In the same year, he worked under direction of the president of Poland, Lech Wałęsa, as the head of his presidential chancellery.[7] Wałęsa fired Kaczyński, who then led the protest movement against him.[8]

2005 electionsEdit

Kaczyński was the Law and Justice prime ministerial candidate in the September 2005 Polish parliamentary election.[9][10][11] However, when the party emerged as winner of the election, he pledged that he would not take the position, expecting that his nomination would reduce the chances of his brother Lech Kaczyński, who was a candidate for the October presidential election. Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz was appointed prime minister.

In the following months, he was a frontbench MP and the leader of his party. He was said to have enormous influence on the prime minister's decision-making process. Kaczyński was described as the architect of the coalition with the populist Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Samoobrona) and the far-right League of Polish Families party.

Prime ministerEdit

Following reports of a rift between Kaczyński and Marcinkiewicz, the latter resigned on 7 July 2006. Kaczyński was appointed prime minister by his brother, the president, Lech Kaczyński, on 10 July, and sworn in on 14 July, following the formation of a cabinet and a confidence vote in the Sejm.[12][13][14] They were the first pair of brothers in the world to serve as president and prime minister of a country and the only twin brothers to have done so.[15]

At the request of his government, taxes were reduced. Kaczyński controversially initiated a nationwide program (lustracja) which required thousands of public employees, teachers, and journalists to formally declare whether or not they had collaborated with the security services of the former communist regime.[16]

2007 parliamentary electionEdit

Despite gaining votes, Law and Justice lost the parliamentary election on 21 October 2007, finishing a distant second behind the pro-European and liberal-conservative party Civic Platform. Kaczyński was succeeded as prime minister by Donald Tusk, but remained chairman of Law and Justice and became leader of the opposition.

2010 presidential electionEdit

Following the death of his brother, Jarosław announced that he would run for president against Bronisław Komorowski in the election held on 20 June 2010.[17][18] Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska ran his electoral campaign staff and the spokesperson was Paweł Poncyljusz. Kaczyński appeared to soften his image during the campaign in order to win centrist voters.[19] The campaign's motto was Poland Comes First.[20] He polled 36.5% of the vote in the first round, against the acting president Bronisław Komorowski's 41.5%. In the second round he lost with 47.0% of the votee to Komorowski's 53.0%.

After 2015Edit

Jarosław Kaczyński and former Prime Minister of Poland Beata Szydło

In order to win over moderate voters, rather than running as PiS's candidate for president or prime minister, Kaczyński put forward more moderate PiS members in the 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections. Andrzej Duda ran as PiS's presidential candidate, while Beata Szydło was its candidate for prime minister.[21] PiS won both elections.[21] In the parliamentary election, PiS became the first party to win an outright majority since the end of communism.[22][23] But despite being a popular leader among PiS's base, he himself remains unpopular among the wider public, with some polls showing that more Poles think Kaczyński is not trustworthy compared to Duda or Szydło.[21] In 2017, Politico described him as the de facto ruler of Poland and as one of the most influential politicians in Poland.[24][25]

Political viewsEdit

Jarosław Kaczyński speaking during the inauguration of a monument to his brother Lech Kaczyński (November 2018, Warsaw)

Kaczyński's project is said to consist of a "moral revolution" culminating in the creation of a "fourth republic" drawing a radical break from the compromises surrounding the fall of communism in Poland[26] and reverting Poland back to its conservative, Roman Catholic roots and away from a multi-cultural styled Western European mainstream. In April 2016, he stated that he is not going to candidate for office of President or Prime Minister of Republic of Poland in upcoming elections.

Drawing from his strong, uncompromising views (specially regarding parts of the political, cultural and media elite, which he sees as remnants or heirs of the former communist networks), Kaczyński is often labelled as "polarizing".[27]

In recent years, he was also known as an activist for animal rights, and, among other things, undertook activities aimed at banning the breeding of fur animals.[28]

In 2019, Kaczyński characterized the LGBT rights movement as a foreign import that threatens the Polish nation. He also stated that everyone must recognize Christianity and questioning the Roman Catholic Church in Poland as unpatriotic: "We are dealing with a direct attack on the family and children — the sexualization of children, that entire LBGT movement, gender. This is imported, but they today actually threaten our identity, our nation, its continuation and therefore the Polish state."[29] In the past Kaczynski had described the LGBT movement as a threat to Polish values, and the state itself.[30]

Personal lifeEdit

Kaczyński resides in Warsaw. He lived with his ailing mother until her hospitalization.[17] Kaczyński owns no computer and is said to have opened his first bank account only in 2009.[24]

As a democratic-opposition activist, Kaczyński was investigated by the communist Security Service (SB) for his anti-government activity. The SB files described Kaczynski as "...being very uncertain about his fate. His appearance is careless. He claimed that he was not interested in material matters, women, e.g. he does not care about having a family in the future. He has a phlegmatic disposition, the appearance of a bookworm." Also, the files noted he would not agree to any cooperation with the SB.[31]

In popular cultureEdit

The main character of the political satire web series The Chairman's Ear, chairman Jarosław (depicted by series creator Robert Górski), is modeled on Kaczyński.[32]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Day, Matthew (27 September 2005). "Twins who stole the Moon are poised to run away with Poland". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 July 2007.
  2. ^ Araloff, Simon (23 September 2005). "Kaczynski Brothers: Movie Stars That Turned Politicians". Axis News. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  3. ^ Henzler, Marek (13 January 2017). "Doktorat prezesa Jarosława Kaczyńskiego". www.polityka.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  4. ^ Bogusław Kopka, Ryszard Żelichowski, Rodem z Solidarności. Sylwetki twórców NSZZ Solidarność, Niezależna Oficyna Wydawnicza, Warszawa 1997, s. 81–112, ISBN 83-7054-099-6.
  5. ^ Opozycja w PRL. Słownik biograficzny 1956–89 (red. nacz. Jan Skórzyński), tom 1, wyd. Ośrodek Karta, Warszawa 2000, s. 139–140 (Andrzej Talaga). ISBN 83-88288-65-2
  6. ^ "Jaroslaw Kaczynski at Encyklopedia Solidarnosci" (in Polish). Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  7. ^ Matraszek, Marek (26 October 1991). "The President's Man". spectator.co.uk. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  8. ^ Hinshaw, Drew; Walker, Marcus (22 January 2018). "Poland's New Nationalist Rulers Are Erasing Lech Walesa From History". wsj.com. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  9. ^ Easton, Adam (21 September 2006). "Polish twins in leadership race". BBC News. London. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  10. ^ Gwiazda, Anna. Democracy in Poland: Representation, Participation, Competition and Accountability Since 1989. Routledge, 2015, p. 63
  11. ^ Poland turns right: A conservative enigma. The Economist, 31 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Poland's Prime Minister Resigns". BBC News. London. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  13. ^ "Polish President Appoints His Twin Brother as Premier". Bloomberg. 10 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  14. ^ "Polish Head Swears in Twin as PM". BBC News. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  15. ^ "Twin Kaczynski brothers become President and Prime Minister of Poland". Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  16. ^ Europress Research (19 April 2010). "Poland Post April 10th 2010". Europress Research. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  17. ^ a b Champion, Marc (24 April 2010). "Kaczynski Poised for Presidential Bid in Poland". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  18. ^ Präsidentenwahl in Polen: Kaczynski will seinen Bruder beerben (in German). Spiegel Online, 26 April 2010.
  19. ^ "ANALYSIS-Poland's Kaczynski eyes middle ground ahead of vote". Reuters. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  20. ^ "Hasło Kaczyńskiego: "Polska jest najważniejsza"". tvn24.pl. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  21. ^ a b c Strzelecki, Marek (18 April 2016). "Staring Down Critics, Poland's Kaczynski Urges Faster Change". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Poland Ousts Government as Law & Justice Gains Historic Majority". Bloomberg. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  23. ^ "Poland elections: Conservatives secure decisive win". BBC News. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Jarosław Kaczyński". Politico.eu. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  25. ^ "Poland's de facto leader slams president, wants to restore 'moral order'". Politico. 28 July 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  26. ^ "He's back". The Economist. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  27. ^ Hoppe, Ralf; Puhl, Jan (8 December 2016). "Poland after a Year of Populist Rule". Spiegel Online International. Retrieved 25 September 2017. "The conservative party leader is considered highly intelligent and well educated, but he is also a polarizing figure."
  28. ^ "Kaczyński apeluje z ekranu w Brukseli: niech futra przejdą do historii". tvn24.pl (TVN24). 23 January 2018.
  29. ^ "Polish leader: LGBT rights an import that threatens nation". New York Post. Associated Press. 25 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  30. ^ Scally, Derek (2 August 2019). "Polish archbishop compares LGBTI community to 'red plague'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  31. ^ "Teczka Kaczyńskiego. Co było w środku?". Fakt24. 22 February 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  32. ^ Florkiewicz, Pawel; Pawlak, Justyna (28 June 2017). "Popular Polish TV satire targets powerful conservative leader Kaczynski". Reuters. Retrieved 28 August 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Michał Janiszewski
Chief of the Chancellery of the President
Succeeded by
Janusz Ziółkowski
Preceded by
Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz
Prime Minister of Poland
Succeeded by
Donald Tusk
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lech Kaczyński
Leader of Law and Justice
Law and Justice nominee for
President of Poland

Succeeded by
Andrzej Duda