Presidential candidate Jaroslaw Kaczynski said on Thursday the death of his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, had created a spirit of unity among Poles that would help him work with the government if elected.
Kaczynski, 60, leads the right-wing main opposition Law and Justice party (PiS) and is known for his abrasive style and deep distrust of political rivals such as Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
But he is now trying to project a softer image as he seeks voters' support ahead of the June 20 election, moved forward from the autumn after his brother Lech's death in a plane crash in Russia on April 10. [ID:nLDE64AOST]
"The positive social feelings, the feelings of unity that appeared after April 10 provide a chance to do something to change the quality of our public life," Kaczynski told Internet portal Salon24 in his first interview since the crash.
"I believe conditions for cooperation with the government are much better now than before thanks to the social mood." The crash that killed Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others, including the heads of the armed forces and the central bank governor, united Poles of all ages and political views in shock, grief and painful soul-searching.
The centrist Tusk government has often clashed with the Kaczynski brothers over the euro, economic reform and relations with Poland's neighbours. Lech Kaczynski had used his presidential veto to block some government bills. Asked if he would be ready as president to seek compromises with Tusk, Kaczynski said: "Yes. But compromises must have some social backing. They cannot be agreed by politicians clinching deals above the heads of society or, even worse, against it."
"I think there is a greater need for compromise now in society. And we must pursue it," he added.
Analysts say Kaczynski's newly conciliatory tone is already reaping dividends. Opinion polls have shown him gaining ground on election frontrunner Bronislaw Komorowski, who is the candidate of Tusk's pro-euro, pro-business Civic Platform (PO).
Kaczynski said he would seek common ground with the government over issues such as health reform and spending cuts.
"I would not say 'no' automatically (to spending cuts), though one has to be careful with cuts," he said.
Komorowski and Tusk have said they do not believe Kaczynski has really changed and that they would expect him to continue his brother's obstruction of government reforms if elected.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski served as prime minister in 2006-7 at the head of a fractious right-wing coalition that antagonised Poland's business elite, judiciary and media and badly strained relations with Germany, Russia and the European Union.
On Thursday, in an apparent attempt to regain the political initiative, Komorowski said he would shortly set up a body to advise the president on security matters. It will include Tusk, the foreign and defence ministers, opposition party leaders and former presidents and prime ministers of Poland.Last Mod: 14 Mayıs 2010, 00:54