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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poland Faces Rule by Twin Brothers

WARSAW -- The United States has its political power families -- the Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes. But nothing quite like what is developing in Poland.

Poland faces the almost certain prospect of having identical twin brothers simultaneously hold the posts of prime minister and president in what would perhaps be the most striking feature of the country's ever-chaotic political scene.

President Lech Kaczynski, who took office in December after winning the post in October, is preparing to swear in his twin, Jaroslaw, as the head of a new Cabinet after Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz submitted his resignation Saturday to the governing Law and Justice party.

Since the socially conservative party won elections last fall, Jaroslaw Kaczynski has used his role as party chairman to guide the government -- but always from the sidelines. It was the popular Marcinkiewicz who represented the government in Brussels and other foreign capitals.

But the two apparently fell out over Marcinkiewicz's choice of a new finance minister, and party officials accepted Marcinkiewicz's resignation Saturday, saying they had chosen Kaczynski to replace him.

Jaroslaw had pledged during Lech's presidential campaign that he would refrain from becoming prime minister to help his brother's shot at the presidency, saying he wanted to spare the country the confusion of identical leaders.

Though both men, 57, have the same round faces and short, stout builds, many Poles have learned to distinguish them thanks to the fact that Lech has two telltale moles on his face and wears a wedding ring. The unmarried Jaroslaw has neither.

The strangeness of twins dominating the political scene has worn off to some extent for Poles, in part because the two have been a public presence for nearly half a century.

They first won fame as child actors in the 1962 hit film "The Two Who Stole The Moon." Their show business careers stopped there, and they became politically active by joining the anti-communist opposition in the 1970s, and later serving as advisers to the Solidarity movement in the 1980s -- eventually falling out with President Lech Walesa in the '90s.

"It was a kind of aesthetic problem during the elections," said analyst Jacek Kucharczyk, of the Institute of Public Affairs. "But the main problem is their track record in politics. Ever since they won the elections, they have been destabilizing the Polish political scene. We are in a state of political crisis."

Since Law and Justice formed a government in October, Poland has been beset by political instability and bickering.Attempts to form a coalition with pro-business parties collapsed in the fall, and after months of serving as a weak, minority government, Law and Justice stabilized its government by forming a coalition with two Euro-skeptic parties in May.