Who rules Poland? ask mother


POLAND: Mother knows best, or at least that is the hope of Poles and foreign investors who worry about the victory of controversial conservative twins Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Poland's elections on Sunday.

Nicknamed "Kaczory" (the ducks), the short, stout, and now greying 56-year-old twins, shot to fame as child actors in the 1962 Polish movie The Two Who Stole The Moon. As teenagers, their hobby was fist-fighting.

"They were a bit naughty as children but they are good boys," Jadwiga Kaczynska, a dimunitive woman in her 80s, told reporters at the conservative Law and Justice party headquarters on Sunday night. The Kaczynskis, long the "enfants terribles" of Polish politics due to their combative style, may end up as prime minister and president.

Jaroslaw, a bachelor older by 45 minutes than Lech, lives with his mother and their cats.

His brother, the mayor of Warsaw and the party's presidential candidate in elections on October 9th is married with a grown-up daughter.

Their promises of a "moral revolution" after four years of leftist rule could sound ominous to many Poles, while financial markets sold the Polish zloty yesterday fearing their untested ability to implement reforms.

They have also drawn criticism from Poland's small gay rights movement after Lech banned their demonstrations in Warsaw, while Jaroslaw has suggested banning homosexuals from teaching jobs. But their tough image softens when mother Jadwiga is around.

On Sunday, she and Jaroslaw voted together in a Warsaw polling station. When Jaroslaw emerged alone to meet party activists and journalists, he had a sudden flash of panic on his face.

"Where is mum?" he quipped as she was no longer at his side after leaving discreetly through the back door.- (Reuters)