Lisbon, Lisbon , Portugal
|| April 30, 1949
Apr 30, 2015 09:41pm
Portuguese - Socialist - Pro-Life - Widowed - Catholic -
|Info||Prime Minister of Portugal from October 1995 until December 2001 when he resigned following the Socialist Party's defeat in the local elections. |
Entered the Superior Technical Institute in 1965 where he studied Physics and was a member of the Catholic youth movement, Juventude Universitária Católica. He took no part in the student movements of the late-1960s, preferring to concentrate on his studies and his future career. A committed Catholic, he became chairman of the University Social Centre, experiencing at first hand the miseries of the poorer areas of Lisbon. It was these experiences, and the feeling of profound injustice that made Guterres take an active interest in politics.
He graduated with a degree in Electronic Engineering in 1971, and immediately became involved in the social and religious discussions of the "Group of Light", alongside Helena Roseta, Marcelo Rebelo da Sousa, António Tavares and Victor Sá Machado. He joined the Socialist Party in 1974 and, disenchanted by the political system and attracted by Marxist socialism, he decided to abandon his studies and instead dedicated himself to politics.
Following the Carnation Revolution, he and Manuel Alegre became the principal members of the Socialist Party in Lisbon. His activities as a Party activist brought him to the notice of several leading socialists who in 1976 accused him of being linked to Opus Dei and claimed that he was causing bad-feeling within the Party. However, Guterres' rise within the PS had begun. His friendship with Salgado Zenha, then Minister of Finance, saw him appointed Chief Secretary within this ministry.
Hard working and dedicated, Guterres was to co-ordinate the Working Group that produced the document "Ten years to change Portugal: Programme of the PS for the 1980s", which was adopted by the PS Congress in 1979. In 1980 he fell out with Mário Soares because of this latter's refusal to support Ramalho Eanes' re-election. This led to him resigning from Parliament, along with Salgado Zenha, Vítor Constâncio and Jorge Sampaio.
He and Soares sank their differences following Soares' election to the Presidency, and became a member of the commission on Portugal's integration into the European Community. In 1988 he became leader of the PS's parliamentary group, and in 1989 he became a member of the Council of State.
Guterres' moment arrived at the PS's 1992 congress when he assumed the leadership of the Party from Jorge Sampaio, even although the rift between him and his predecessor did not suggest an easy transition. He put his mind straight into planning for the 1995 parliamentary elections, working on a project that would end ten years of Cavaco Silva's government and paint the Portuguese political map in the colour of the Socialist Party - a victory that few within the Party believed possible.
In his first term as Prime Minister, Guterres set about creating a system of open government and entered into dialogue with several political forces. In October 1999 he was re-elected as Prime Minister - the first Socialist Party leader to obtain two consecutive terms. At the same time he was appointed President of the Socialist International.
António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres is a Portuguese politician, a former prime minister, and current president of the Socialist International.
António Guterres was born in Lisbon and grew up there. As a young child, he already showed the abilities that would grant him the national award for best high school student of the year in 1965. He continued his studies in Instituto Superior Técnico, where he pursued degrees in physics and electronics. During his college years, Guterres was never involved in the student opposition to the fascist regime of António de Oliveira Salazar. He dedicated himself to his degree and the meetings of the JUC (Catholic University Students Movement), ending as a member of the Opus Dei. In 1971 he graduated and started an University career as Assistant Professor.
His political career started in 1972, when he enrolled as a member of the Socialist Party. Shortly thereafter, he quit the academic life and became a full-time politician. Following the Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974 (which put an end to the fascist regime), Guterres was envolved in the organization of the Socialist Party, especially in the Lisbon section. Despite the initial mistrust felt by his laic peers due to his Catholic affinities, Guterres became one of the party leaders and held the following offices:
Head of Office of the Secretary of State of Industry (1974 and 1975)
Deputy for Lisbon, and later Castelo Branco in the Portuguese National Parliament (1976-1995)
During this term he his responsible for several parliamentary commissions
Leader of the parliamentary bench of the Socialist Party, succeeding Jorge Sampaio (1988)
In 1992, he became president of the Socialist Party and leader of the opposition against Aníbal Cavaco Silva's government. He was also nominated vice-president of the International Socialist in September of the same year.
Following the retirement of Cavaco Silva in 1995, the Socialist Party won the general elections and Guterres became prime minister of Portugal. With a style markedly different from that of his predecessor, based on dialogue and discussion with all sections of society, Guterres was a popular prime minister in the first years of his government. He was re-elected in 1999, and from January to July of 2000, he occupied the Presidency of the European Council. In 2002, following a disastrous result for the Socialist Party in the local elections, and the regrettable state of the Portuguese public finances, Guterres resigned and put an end to the government. Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, until then minister of Social Security, assumed the Socialist party leadership, but the general elections were lost to the Social Democratic Party of José Manuel Durão Barroso, the current President of the European Commission.
Guterres is now retired from the Portuguese political scene but continues his work as President of the Socialist International, an office he has held since October 1999. He is rumoured to be a possible candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, to be held in January 2006.