Soares, Mário

Soares, Mário (Mário Alberto Nobre Lópes Soares) mäˈryo͝o swäˈrəsh [key], 1924–2017, Portuguese politician. Soares rose to prominence as a vocal critic of the regime of António Salazar and as an advocate of democracy and economic development; he was imprisoned on numerous occasions. Exiled in 1968 and again in 1970, he returned from Paris in Apr., 1974, following the military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Marcello Caetano. Soares became foreign minister for the new military junta, but as this fell increasingly under the control of radicals Soares broke with the junta and led the fight for parliamentary democracy. After the leftist coup attempt of Nov., 1975, was crushed, his cause was successful. Soares and his Socialist party were the dominant force from 1975 to 1978, but were generally ineffective and their power eroded. During the early 1980s they alternated in office with the Social Democrats, who gradually replaced the Socialists as the major party. A three-time prime minister, Soares presided over the granting of independence to the country's African colonies and negotiated Portugal's entry into the European Community (now the European Union) in 1986. That same year, Soares stepped down as head of the party to run successfully for the Portuguese presidency. An extremely popular president, he was reelected in 1991 and retired in 1996, credited with consolidating the democracy he did much to create. From 1999 to 2004 Soares served in the European Parliament. In 2006 he again ran for president but finished third.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Spanish and Portuguese History: Biographies