Poland's President Swears in Twin Brother as Prime Minister

Poland's president swore in his identical twin brother Friday as prime minister, along with a socially conservative Cabinet made up largely of the same ministers who resigned in a shake-up days earlier.

President Lech Kaczynski shook hands with his brother, Jaroslaw, before the new prime minister recited the oath of office and finished with "so help me God" — in contrast with many of Poland's former ex-communist leaders who left it out.

In a brief speech, the president wished the new Cabinet luck on a "tough road of change" in Poland, saying the ministers must devote themselves to cleansing the state apparatus of corruption — a key priority of the ruling Law and Justice party.

"The plan of building a lawful and uncorrupted state beneficial to its citizens must be realized," he said.

The 57-year-old brothers are former activists in the Solidarity movement that helped topple communist rule in 1989-90. Both ran on a pledge to fight the cronyism that has since flourished.

As prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski will run the government's day-to-day affairs and try to get laws through parliament. As president, his twin has a more ceremonial role but also wields significant powers, including the right to veto legislation and approve military missions such as Poland's deployment in Iraq.

The new government still faces a vote of confidence in parliament, expected Wednesday. It is expected to pass easily since the coalition enjoys a majority in the 460-seat assembly.

Members of the 21-member Cabinet also took their oaths of office, after being greeted by the president and presented with their official portfolios. The president shook hands with male members of the Cabinet, and kissed the hands of the women and gave them with bouquets of red roses.

The new Cabinet remains largely unchanged from the ministers who served under the outgoing prime minister, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, a popular leader who resigned nearly a week ago amid reports of a rift with Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The shake-up is expected to bring more continuity than change.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski has vowed in past days to continue the previous government's policies that include promises of fiscal reform, preserving a strong social safety net, and rooting out corruption.

CountryWatch: Poland