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José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa

Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, José, 1957–, Portuguese political leader, premier of Portugal (2005–11). b. Porto. A member of the center-left Socialist party since 1981, he was elected to parliament in 1987. He was secretary of state for the environment (1995–97), minister for youth and sports (1997), minister for the environment (1999–2002), and minister of infrastructure (2002). He was elected secretary-general of the Socialist party in 2004, and after the party won the 2005 elections he became premier. Sócrates led a minority government from 2009, when his party lost its parliamentary majority. In office, he attempted to reform Portugal's troubled economy, reducing government spending and, in 2010, pushing through an austerity budget. When additional austerity measures failed to pass in 2011, he resigned as premier and then sought EU aid while heading a caretaker government. After the Socialists lost the subsequent elections, he quit as party leader.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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