Cablegate: Jaroslaw Kaczynski Unexpectedly Withdraws As Pm

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: In a surprise move September 27, Law and
Justice (PiS) party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski named Kazimierz
Marcinkiewicz as the party's candidate to be Prime Minister.
Kaczynski's decision to remove himself from the running is
widely interpreted as a bid to improve his twin brother
Lech's chances in the October 9 presidential election,
addressing concerns rumbling in public that Poles were not
inclined to have identical twins serving as Prime Minister
and President. Marcinkiewicz is known as a moderate within
his party, and has good relations with his party's likely
coalition partner, the Civic Platform. Polish commentators
were flabbergasted by the announcement, and speculate that
Marcinkiewicz may be a placeholder for one or the other
Kaczynski twin to assume the premiership in due course. In
an interview with Polish radio, Marcinkiewicz said he looked
forward to being "a strong Prime Minister for the next four
years." Biographic information on Marcinkiewicz is at
paragraph six. End Summary.

2. (SBU) PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski stunned the
public on September 27, announcing that Kazimierz
Marcinkiewicz, a moderate PiS deputy from western Poland,
would be the PiS candidate for prime minister.
Marcinkiewicz, 45, is viewed as a moderate with friendly ties
to his party's likely coalition partner, the Civic Platform
(PO). Kaczynski's surprise announcement is widely viewed as
a ploy to boost the electoral chances of his identical twin,
Lech, the PiS candidate for president, thus addressing
concerns that Poles are reluctant to have twin brothers serve
as President and Prime Minister. Commentators immediately
speculated that Marcinkiewicz could be replaced as the PiS
candidate for premier by one of the Kaczynski brothers,
should Lech fail in his presidential bid.

3. (SBU) Marcinkiewicz, interviewed on Polish radio on
September 28, said squarely that he was not a placeholder for
PiS, and looks forward to serving as "a strong prime minister
for the next four years." He added that he looked forward to
working closely with PO and its leader, Jan Rokita, with whom
he hoped he would "co-form" the government quickly, perhaps
even before the second round of the presidential campaign on
October 23. Marcinkiewicz announced further that he will
meet with Polish President Kwasniewski that day, as well as
PO's front-running Presidential candidate, Donald Tusk and
Rokita to discuss the anticipated coalition government's
program. Marcinkiewicz called for "programs before posts,"
stating that the expected coalition partners should agree to
their common policies before haggling over ministries and
jobs. In a press conference later that day, Marcinkiewicz
indicated he hoped that the new parliament could convene on
October 19, thus before the second-round of the presidential
election on October 23.

Reaction within PiS

4. (SBU) Marcinkiewicz has no known political enemies, and
his position within the moderate wing of his party makes him
an unobjectionable candidate to the PO. The news of
Marcinkiewicz's candidacy may come as a surprise for rank and
file PiS voters, who overwhelmingly voted for Jaroslaw
Kaczynski expecting him to be their prime minister. Jaroslaw
was the top vote-getter in all of Poland, receiving over
171,000 votes in his Warsaw district. Voters may be
disappointed, moreover, that the Kaczynskis did not name
their close political ally, Ludwig Dorn, as the PiS
candidate. Dorn has been variously described by commentators
as "the third Kaczynski brother," and this morning as
"practically made up of the same genetic material." Yet
while popular with some in PiS, Dorn would have been an
unacceptable choice for PO.

Reaction from PO

5. (SBU) PO, for its part, was caught off guard by the
Marcinkiewicz announcement. PO's presidential candidate,
Donald Tusk, complained that he learned the news "exactly
three minutes before it was made public." And while
Marcinkiewicz enjoys good relations with PO, his nomination
was viewed by PO as forcing them to make decisions about the
composition of the coalition in a greater hurry than they
might wish. This sentiment was expressed by Stefan Kawalec,
a leading PO candidate for an economic ministry who spoke
with econoff this morning. Kawalec said that coalition
negotiations would proceed gingerly, because PO was concerned
that PiS would "instrumentalize the talks" in order to gain
an advantage in the upcoming presidential race. Tusk added
in a press conference today that he wanted to meet with the
Kaczynski brothers since it was "clear they make the
political decisions within PiS."

Biographical Note

6. (U) Marcinkiewicz represents the Zielona Gora district in
western Poland, and was first elected to the Sejm in 1997 as
a deputy with Solidary Electoral Action (AWS). When PiS was
established in 2001 and its deputies left AWS, he was elected
Chairman of its caucus. Regarded as an expert on education
matters, he was Deputy Chairman of the Sejm Education
Committee (1999-2000), Deputy Minister of Education
(1992-1993), and has served in a number of education
institutions. He was most recently chairman of the Sejm's
Treasury Committee. He was the head of then PM Buzek's
cabinet in 1999-2000. He graduated from Wroclaw University
in 1984. Marcinkiewicz is married and the father of four
children. He speaks very limited English.

7. (SBU) Comment: Marcinkiewicz has been an excellent
Embassy contact, and went to the United States on an
International Visitors grant in 2000. We have consulted with
him closely, especially regarding private property
legislation (as head of the Parliamentary Treasury Committee,
Marcinkiewicz had a leading role in earlier efforts to pass
legislation in this field), and invariably have been
impressed by his reasonable approach and open manner. As
noted above, he is considered to be one of PiS' more moderate
leaders, and had been mentioned as a possible Minister of
Education or Treasury. It will remain to be seen how strong
he will be as Prime Minister, and the extent to which the
Kaczynski's will act or be seen as powers behind the throne.
End comment.

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