Francisco Pinto Balsemão

His Excellency
Francisco Pinto Balsemão
Member of the Council of State
Assumed office
12 January 2016
Appointed by Assembly of the Republic
President Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
111th Prime Minister of Portugal
In office
9 January 1981  9 June 1983
(2 years and 5 months)
President António Ramalho Eanes
Deputy Diogo Freitas do Amaral
Preceded by Diogo Freitas do Amaral (Acting)
Succeeded by Mário Soares
President of the Social Democratic Party
In office
5 December 1981  25 February 1983
Preceded by Francisco Sá Carneiro
Succeeded by Nuno Rodrigues dos Santos
Minister of Social Affairs
In office
3 August 1981  4 September 1981
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by João Morais Leitão
Succeeded by Carlos Macedo
Adjunct Minister of the Prime Minister
In office
3 January 1980  9 January 1981
Prime Minister Francisco Sá Carneiro
Diogo Freitas do Amaral
Preceded by Manuel da Costa Brás
Succeeded by Basílio Horta
Personal details
Born (1937-09-01) 1 September 1937
Lisbon, Portugal
Political party Social Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Maria Mercedes Aliu Presas

Maria Isabel de Lacerda Pinto da Costa Lobo (divorced)
Alma mater University of Lisbon
Occupation Journalist, newspaper editor, newspaper administrator, Chief Executive Officer of Impresa media group, Chairman of the European Publishers Council
Religion Roman Catholicism

Francisco José Pereira Pinto Balsemão, GCC (Portuguese pronunciation: [fɾɐ̃ˈsiʃku ˈpĩtu baɫsɨˈmɐ̃w̃]; born 1 September 1937 in Lisbon), is a Portuguese businessman, former journalist and retired politician, who served as Prime Minister of Portugal, from 1981 to 1983.


He is the son of Henrique Patrício de Balsemão (Guarda, Guarda, 9 September 1897 – ?) and wife (married Lisbon, 21 May 1922) Maria Adelaide van Zeller de Castro Pereira (Sintra, 11 August 1897 – ?).


Being a licentiate in Law from the University of Lisbon, Pinto Balsemão's pre-political career was in newspaper publishing. After working as a journalist and then as an administrator of Diário Popular (the People's Daily in English) from 1963 to 1971, he founded the Expresso magazine in 1973 and continued to direct it until 1980. He is one of top managers and owners of Impresa media group.

Pinto Balsemão was Member of parliament before the revolution (1969-1973), when, together with Francisco de Sá Carneiro, Joaquim Magalhães Mota, Carlos Mota Pinto, João Bosco Mota Amaral, Alberto João Jardim, António Barbosa de Melo and António Marques Mendes, he helped to found the right-wing conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD), of which he is currently member number 1. In 1975 he was elected to the Constituent Assembly, which was charged with drafting a new constitution and served as an interim legislature. Pinto Balsemão was chosen as a Vice-President of this body.

Following the victory of the Democratic Alliance (a coalition led by the PSD) in two parliamentary elections (in 1979 and 1980), Pinto Balsemão held senior positions in two cabinets led by Prime Minister Sá Carneiro.

When Sá Carneiro was killed in an air accident on 4 December 1980, the Social Democratic Party chose Pinto Balsemão to succeed him. Despite his reputation for competence, he was widely perceived as lacking Sá Carneiro's charisma. He had difficulty maintaining the level of support enjoyed by his party, which had been based to a large extent on Sá Carneiro's personal popularity. He also had to cope with friction within the Democratic Alliance, and found the Democratic and Social Centre leader, Diogo Freitas do Amaral, a difficult ally. These factors contributed to his defeat in the parliamentary election of 1983. He finally retired from Parliament in 1987 though not from politics.

Pinto Balsemão currently serves as Chairman of the European Publishers Council and as Chief Executive Officer of Grupo Impresa in Portugal. He was the founder on 6 October 1992 of Sociedade Independente de Comunicação (SIC), the first Portuguese private television network.

He is also a member of Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group, and as such has attracted some controversy. He participated in more than 30 Bilderberg-Conferences since 1981.

He is also a Member of the Portuguese Council of State, elected by the Assembly of the Republic and chosen by the current President of the Republic his fellow party colleague and former president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Aníbal Cavaco Silva.


He married firstly and divorced Maria Isabel de Lacerda Pinto da Costa Lobo, daughter of Manuel da Costa Lobo Cardoso (Vila Real, Vila Real, 15 November 1907 – ?), Director-General of the Banco de Angola, and wife (married Luanda, 20 October 1934) Maria Amélia de Lacerda Rebelo Pinto (Quissol, Malanje – ?), married secondly to José da Franca de Horta Machado Guedes Leitão Cruz (born Lisbon, 18 October 1947), without issue, and had two children:

He married secondly Maria Mercedes Aliu Presas, of Spanish descent, and had two children:

Out of wedlock he had a son by Isabel Maria Supico Pinto (born Lisbon, 26 October 1942), second wife (married São Paulo, São Paulo, 9 June 1976) without issue of Vasco Maria Vasques da Cunha d' Eça da Costa e Almeida, 3rd Viscount of Maiorca (born Lisbon, Encarnação, 12 May 1923), natural daughter of Minister Clotário Luís Supico Ribeiro Pinto (1909–1986, 937th Associate of the Second Tauromachic Club, son of Liberato Damião Ribeiro Pinto and Maria Augusta Supico), by actress Maria Adelaide da Silva Lalande (Castelo Branco, Salgueiro do Campo, 7 November 1913 – Lisbon, 21 March 1968), wife of actor Ribeirinho:

Political offices
Preceded by
Diogo de Freitas do Amaral
Prime Minister of Portugal
Succeeded by
Mário Soares
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