Kaczynski visits twin brother's grave as presidential race nears

Kaczynski visits twin brother's grave as presidential race nears

Presidential candidate Jaroslaw Kaczynski on Friday visited the grave of his twin brother Lech, the late president, as polls showed there would be no clear winner in the first round of voting this weekend, DPA reported.

Kaczynski's chief opponent in the race is acting president Bronislaw Komorowski, of the centre-right Civic Platform party. Kaczynski is a co-founder of the right-wing Law and Justice party.

Kaczynski was accompanied by Marta, daughter of the deceased presidential couple, as he lay flowers in the crypt of the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow, southern Poland.

Kaczynski said the visit was private and personal, as it came on the identical twins' 61st birthday.

Poles are set to vote Sunday in presidential elections, held early for a successor to Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash in Russia on April 10 with 95 others.

The president holds fewer real powers than the prime minister or parliament, but has the right to veto laws. The president could also play an influential role as Poland deliberates when to adopt the euro or when to withdraw from the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Kaczynski's visit came on the last day of the election campaign and was meant to show continuity with his brother's legacy, said analyst Jaroslaw Zbieranek, of the Institute of Public Affairs. The visit had a personal and political aspect, Zbieranek said.

"It has to do with emphasising to his voters that 'we have a certain mission begun by Lech Kaczynski and I will continue it,'" Zbieranek said. "It's not surprising because the whole campaign is centred on continuing the main goals of Lech Kaczynski."

Lech Kaczynski was known for his critiques of Russia and his hesitancy to build closer ties to the European Union. Jaroslaw Kaczynski was Lech's close adviser and known for his combative politics.

Jaroslaw has toned down his rhetoric in the campaign, set as it is against a background of mourning for the crash victims.

Komorowski has pledged to unite Poland's political scene and to get the country caught up to more prosperous members of the European Union.

Polls showed there would likely be a second round of voting.

A candidate needs to get 51 per cent of the vote on Sunday to win in a first round. If no candidate reaches that threshold, voters will cast their ballots on July 4 in a second round.

A survey by the liberal Wyborcza daily showed Komorowski leading with 51 per cent of the vote, while Kaczynski trailed with 33 per cent. The daily said Komorowski was "on the border of winning in the first round."

But a poll by the conservative Rzeczpospolita daily found that Komorowski would get 41 per cent of the vote and Kaczynski 31 per cent.

"I would be very surprised if Komorowski won in the first round," analyst Zbieranek said.

The candidate for the Democratic Left Alliance, Grzegorz Napieralski, has gained support in recent weeks, from a projected 2 per cent of the vote to some 10 per cent, suggesting that left-wing voters may not back Komorowski in the first round, as analysts had predicted.

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