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Lech Aleksander Kaczyński ( ; born 18 June 1949) is the President of the Republic of Polandmarker, a politician of the party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice, PiS). Kaczyński served as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until 22 December 2005, the day before his presidential inauguration. He is the identical twin brother of the former Prime Minister of Poland and current Chairman of the Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński.

Personal life

Early life

Lech Kaczyński was born in Żoliborzmarker, Warsawmarker, the son of Rajmund (an engineer who served as a soldier of the Armia Krajowa in World War II and a veteran of the Warsaw Uprising) and Jadwiga (a philologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences). As a child, he starred in a 1962 Polish film, The Two Who Stole the Moon (Polish title O dwóch takich, co ukradli księżyc) with his twin brother Jarosław.

Lech Kaczyński is a graduate of law and administration of Warsaw Universitymarker. In 1980 he was awarded his PhD by Gdańsk Universitymarker. In 1990 he had his habilitation in labour and employment law. He later assumed professorial positions at Gdańsk Universitymarker and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsawmarker.

Marriage and family

He is married to an economist Maria Kaczyńska (born 1943) and has one daughter, Marta (born 1980) who graduated from the Department of Law at Gdańsk University. Marta is married and in 2003 she gave birth to her daughter, Ewa.Mr. and Mrs. Kaczyński are animal lovers. They have two dogs and two cats.

Opposition to Communism

In the 1970s Lech Kaczyński was an activist in the pro-democratic anti-Communist movement in Poland, Workers' Defence Committee, as well as the Independent Trade Union movement. In August, 1980, he became an adviser to the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee in the Gdańsk Shipyardmarker and the Solidarity movement. During the martial law introduced by the communists in December, 1981, he was interned as an anti-socialist element. After his release from internment, he returned to trade union activities, becoming a member of the underground Solidarity.

When Solidarity was legalized again in the late 1980s, Lech Kaczyński was an active adviser of Lech Wałęsa and his Komitet Obywatelski Solidarność in 1988. From February to April, 1989, he participated in Polish Round Table talks.

Porozumienie Centrum

Kaczyński was elected a senator in the elections of June 1989, and became the vice-chairman of Solidarity trade union NSZZ Solidarność. In the 1991 parliamentary election, he was elected to the parliament as a non-party member. He was, however, supported by the electoral committee Center Civic Alliance, closely related but not identical to the political party Porozumienie Centrum (Center Agreement) led by his brother. He was also the main adviser and supporter of Lech Wałęsa when the latter was elected President of Poland in December 1990. Wałęsa nominated Kaczyński to be the Security Minister in the Presidential Chancellery but fired him in 1992 due to a conflict concerning Jan Olszewski's government.

Lech Kaczyński was the President of the Supreme Chamber of Control (Najwyższa Izba Kontroli, NIK) from February 1992 to May 1995 and later Minister of Justice and Attorney General in Jerzy Buzek's government from June 2000 until his dismissal in July 2001. During this time he was very popular because of his strong stance against corruption.

Law and Justice

In 2001 he founded the conservative political party Law and Justice (PiS) party with his brother Jarosław. Lech Kaczyński was the president of the party between 2001 and 2003. His brother Jaroslaw is its current chairman.

Mayor of Warsaw

In 2002, Lech Kaczyński was elected the mayor of Warsaw by a large margin. He started his term in office by declaring a war on corruption. He strongly supported the construction of the Museum of the Warsaw Uprisingmarker and in 2004 appointed a historical panel to estimate material losses that were inflicted upon the city by the Germans in the Second World War (an estimated 85% of the city was destroyed in the Warsaw Uprising) as a direct response to heightened claims coming from German expellees from Poland. The panel estimated the losses to be at least 45.3 billion euros ($54 billion) in current value. He also promoted currently under construction museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw by donating city land to the project.

Kaczyński banned the Warsaw gay movement parade in 2004 and 2005, locally known as the Parada Równości, stating the lack of necessary documentation by organisers as the reason but also saying the parade would promote a "homosexual lifestyle". He also cited as reasons for the ban security measures, it being offensive to public morals and the fact that the parade coincided with the unveiling of a monument to general Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski. In 2004 his opponents called his actions unconstitutional and he has been repeatedly criticised by the Mazowieckie voivodeshipmarker administration, which officially supervises the Mayor of Warsaw. In 2005, he allowed a counter-demonstration, the "Parade of Normality."

In 2007, Poland, represented by Lech Kaczyński, was found guilty by the European Court of Human Rightsmarker of violation the freedom of assembly under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Presidency

Presidential elections

see: Polish presidential election, 2005

On 19 March 2005, he formally declared his intention to run for president in the October 2005 election.Elected President of the Republic of Poland were he defeated runner up Donald Tusk, polling 54.04 percent of the vote, Kaczyński assumed the office on 23 December 2005 by taking an oath before the National Assembly.

Domestic policy

In his first public speech as president-elect, Kaczyński said his presidency would have the fundamental task amelioration of the Republic. This will consist of "purging various pathologies from our life, most prominently including crime (...), particularly criminal corruption – that entire, great rush to obtain unjust enrichment, a rush that is poisoning society, [and preventing the state from ensuring] elementary social security, health security, basic conditions for the development of the family [and] the security of commerce and the basic conditions for economic development.

During his inauguration he stated several goals he would pursue during his presidency. Among those concerning internal affairs were: increasing social solidarity in Poland, bringing justice to those who were responsible or affected by communist crimes in the People's Republic of Poland, fighting corruption, providing security in economy, and safety for development of family. Kaczyński also stated that he would seek to abolish differences between regions. In his speech he also put emphasis on combining modernisation with tradition and remembering the teachings of Pope John Paul II.

On December 21, 2008, Lech Kaczyński became the first Polish head of state to visit a Polish synagogue for a religious service. His attendance coincided with the first night of Hanukkah.

Presidential pardons

In the years 2005-2007, as per article 133 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, president Lech Kaczyński has pardoned 77 people and declined to pardon 550.

Foreign affairs

In foreign affairs, President Kaczyński noted that many of Poland's problems were related to the lack of energy security and this issue would have to be resolved in order to protect Polish interests. Strengthening ties with the USA while continuing to develop relations within the European Union are two main goals of Polish foreign affairs, as well as improving relations with Francemarker and Germanymarker despite several problems in the relations with the latter.Outside those issues, the main tasks include developing a visible strategic partnership with Ukrainemarker and greater cooperation with the Baltic states and Georgiamarker.

Defense Minister Radosław Sikorski compared the planned Russia to Germany gas pipeline to the infamous Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and Foreign minister Anna Fotyga stated that the pipeline was a threat to Poland's energy security.

In November 2006 Helsinki European Union—Russia meeting Poland vetoed the launch of EU-Russia partnership talks due to Russian ban on Polish meat and plant products imports.

As a reaction to claims by an obscure German exile group Preussische Treuhand, which represents post-1945 German expellees from Eastern Europe, the Polish Foreign Minister Fotyga (a protégé of Kaczyński) mistakenly threatened to reopen a 1990 Treaty fixing the Oder and Neisse rivers as the border between the two countries instead of the Neighborhood Treaty signed in the same year.

In 2008 following the military conflict between Russia and Georgia, Lech Kaczyński has provided the website of the President of Poland for dissemination of information for blocked by the Russian Federationmarker Georgian internet portals.

During the state visit to Serbiamarker in 2009 Kaczyński said that the Polish government, on the basis of its constitutional competences, decided to recognize Kosovomarker and emphasized that he, as the President of the state, did not agree with that.

Trivia

* He is the first President of the post communistic Poland who holds a degree in higher education. Previous presidents, Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski, hold elementary vocational and high school degrees respectively.


Gallery

Image:Lech Kaczyński.png|Lech KaczyńskiImage:Polish president with army.PNG|President Lech Kaczyński during military parade in Warsaw August 15, 2007.Image:Benedict XVI Poland 6.jpg|Jarosław Kaczyński (left), Lech Kaczyński (middle) and Pope Benedict XVIImage:Lech Kaczyński w Kopalni Halemba (22 lis 2006).jpg|Halemba coal mine briefing 22 November 2006Image:Kaczynski and Klaus (Jan 2007).jpg|With Václav KlausImage:Kaczynski and Sezer (Jan 2007).jpg|With Ahmet SezerImage:2007_06_25_lech_kaczynski_krolarabii07.jpg|With Abdullah of Saudi ArabiaImage:L. Kaczyński - konferencja Bruksela.jpg|Lech Kaczyński in BrusselsImage:Lech Kaczyński kibicujący polskiej reprezentacji w piłce nożnej.jpg|With scarfImage:L. Kaczyński B. Wenta.jpg|2007 World Men's Handball Championship 4 February 2007Image:Para Prezydencka RP.JPG|With his wife MariaImage:Kaczynski and Tadic, at the 63rd UNGA in New York.jpg|With Boris TadićImage:Lech Kaczyński, Mikheil Saakashvili and Valdas Adamkus in Tblisi 2007.JPG|Mikheil Saak’ashvili, Lech Kaczyński and Valdas Adamkus in Tbilisi, November 2007.Image:Nancy Reagan, Polish President, First Lady, George Shultz July 17, 2007.JPG|President and Mrs. Kaczyńska (center, left) with former United States First Lady Nancy Reagan (center, in tan suit) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Librarymarker 17 July 2007, as Mrs. Reagan prepares to accept the Order of the White Eagle from the President on behalf of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan.Image:2007 06 26 lech kaczynski 06.jpg|Lech Kaczyński at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, Warsawmarker 26 June 2007.Image:TheTwoWhoStoleTheMoon.jpg|Lech Kaczyński as child actor in the 1962 film The Two Who Stole the Moon; Lech is on the right and his brother Jarosław Kaczyński is on the left.

References

  1. Rajmund Kaczyñski h. Pomian: genealogia (Potomkowie Sejmu Wielkiego)
  2. Jadwiga Jasiewicz h. Rawicz: genealogia (Potomkowie Sejmu Wielkiego)
  3. http://www.president.pl/x.node?id=437
  4. Polish gay activists win human rights case
  5. Associated Press. Polish president visits synagogue for Hanukkah. accessed and written 21 Dec. 2008.
  6. TALKS TADIC – KACINSKY


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