by Gag Halfrunt
Thu Oct 18th, 2007 at 10:28:10 AM EST
Today's Guardian has a profile of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, prime minister of Poland, and his twin brother Lech, the president.
They are two men who appear to operate as one, and their central mission since coming to power - the president in 2005 and the prime minister 15 months ago - has been to restore Polish pride, and to get the world to sit up and take notice of their country. They have done this by driving through their own version of social cleansing, after years of what they see as moral decline, and by turning Germany into a bogeyman and ramping up Poland's fractious relationship with Russia. They have indeed been getting their country noticed, but whether it is for the right reasons is another question.
Vehemently homophobic and nationalist, the Roman Catholic twins have certainly engendered a new climate of fear in Poland in their short time in control, largely as a result of their paranoia about a "grey network" of former communists they believe to be at work in every corner of national life since the fall of Polish communism in 1989. They have also created an anti-corruption agency that takes its orders directly from the president: 500 hand-picked men assigned to defend what the brothers call their "fourth republic". When the agency men strike, arresting everyone from allegedly crooked politicians to surgeons suspected of taking bribes from patients, they do it on television, wearing masks and dressed head to toe in black.
Given all this, you might expect the outcome of this weekend's snap government election - called two years early because of the collapse of the rightwing coalition the prime minister has been leading - to be a foregone conclusion. But the situation turns out to be far from simple.
In the best blogging tradition, read the whole thing