Social Democratic Party (Portugal)

Social Democratic Party
Partido Social Democrata
Abbreviation PPD/PSD[1]
President Pedro Passos Coelho
Secretary-General José Matos Rosa
Founder Francisco Sá Carneiro
Founded 6 May 1974 (1974-05-06)
Legalized 17 January 1975 (1975-01-17)[1]
Newspaper Povo Livre
Youth wing Social Democratic Youth
Membership  (2016) 117,757[2]
Ideology Liberal conservatism[3]
Political position Centre-right[4]
European affiliation European People's Party
International affiliation Centrist Democrat International
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours      Orange
Assembly of the Republic
89 / 230
6 / 21
45 / 104
770 / 2,086

The Social Democratic Party (Portuguese: Partido Social Democrata pronounced: [pɐɾˈtiðu susiˈaɫ dɨmuˈkɾatɐ]), is a liberal-conservative[5][6] and liberal[7][8][9] political party in Portugal. It is commonly known by its colloquial initials, PSD; on ballot papers, its initials appear as its official form PPD/PSD, with the first three letters coming from the party's original name.

The party was founded as the Democratic People's Party (Partido Popular Democrata, PPD) in 1974, two weeks after the Carnation Revolution. In 1979, it allied with centre-right parties to form the Democratic Alliance, and won that year's election. After the 1983 election, the party formed a grand coalition with the Socialist Party (PS), known as the Central Bloc, before winning the election under new leader Aníbal Cavaco Silva in 1985. Cavaco Silva served as Prime Minister for ten years, instituting major economic liberalisation and winning two landslide victories. After he stepped down, the PSD lost the 1995 election. The party was returned to power under José Manuel Durão Barroso in 2002, but was defeated in the 2005 election. The current leader, Pedro Passos Coelho, was elected on 26 March 2010, and became Prime Minister about a year later. The party won a plurality in the 2015 legislative election, winning 107 seats in Assembly of the Republic in alliance with the People's Party (CDS-PP).

Originally a party of social democracy, the PSD became over time the major party of the centre-right in Portugal.[4] The PSD is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and the Centrist Democrat International. Until 1996 the PSD belonged to the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) and the Liberal International.[4]

The party publishes the weekly Povo Livre (Free People) newspaper.



The Social Democratic Party was born on 6 May 1974, when Francisco Sá Carneiro, Francisco Pinto Balsemão and Joaquim Magalhães Mota publicly announced the formation of what was then called the PPD, the Democratic People's Party (Portuguese: Partido Popular Democrático). On 15 May, the party's first headquarters were inaugurated in Largo do Rato, Lisbon. This was followed, on 24 June, by the formation of the first Political Committee, consisting of Francisco Sá Carneiro, Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Joaquim Magalhães Mota, Barbosa de Melo, Mota Pinto, Montalvão Machado, Miguel Veiga, Ferreira Júnior, António Carlos Lima, António Salazar Silva, Jorge Correia da Cunha, Jorge Figueiredo Dias and Jorge Sá Borges.

The Povo Livre publication was founded, its first issue being published on 13 July 1974, led by its first two directors, Manuel Alegria and Rui Machete. The PPD's first major meeting was held in the "Pavilhão dos Desportos", Lisbon, on 25 October, and a month later the party's first official congress took place.

On 17 January 1975, 6300 signatures were sent to the Supreme Court so that the party could be approved as a legitimate political entity, which happened a mere eight days later.

In 1975, the PPD applied unsuccessfully to join the Socialist International,[10] its membership attempt vetoed by the Socialist Party.[11]

Alberto João Jardim was the co-founder of the Madeiran branch of the PSD, and governed the autonomous archipelago for decades, running as a member of the party.

Cavaco Silva government

The Social Democratic Party participated in a number of coalition governments in Portugal between 1974 and 1976, following the Carnation Revolution. This is seen as a transitional period in Portuguese politics, in which political institutions were built and took time to stabilize. In 1979, the PSD formed an electoral alliance, known as the Democratic Alliance (AD), with the Democratic and Social Centre (now called the People's Party, CDS-PP) and a couple of smaller right-wing parties. The AD won the parliamentary elections towards the end of 1979, and the PSD leader, Francisco Sá Carneiro, became Prime Minister. The AD increased its parliamentary majority in new elections called for 1980, but was devastated by the death of Sá Caneiro in an air crash on 4 December 1980. Francisco Pinto Balsemão took over the leadership of both the Social Democratic Party and the Democratic Alliance, as well as the Prime Ministership, but lacking Sá Carneiro's charisma, he was unable to rally popular support.

The Democratic Alliance was dissolved in 1983, and in parliamentary elections that year, the PSD lost to the Socialist Party (PS). Falling short of a majority, however, the Socialists formed a grand coalition, known as the Central Bloc, with the PSD. Many right-wingers in the PSD, including Aníbal Cavaco Silva, opposed participation in the PS-led government, and so, when Cavaco Silva was elected leader of the party on 2 June 1985, the coalition was doomed.

The PSD won a plurality (but not a majority) in the general election of 1985, and Cavaco Silva became Prime Minister. Economic liberalization and tax cuts ushered in several years of economic growth, and early elections held in 1987 resulted in a landslide victory for the PSD, who captured 50.2% percent of the popular vote and 148 of the 250 parliamentary seats – the first time that any political party had mustered an absolute majority in a free election. They won the 1991 election almost as easily, but continuing high levels of unemployment eroded the popularity of the Cavaco Silva government. Cavaco Silva stepped down as leader in 1995 and the PSD lost the 1995 election.

Post-Cavaco Silva

The party lost the 1999 elections. They made a comeback in 2002, however: despite falling short of a majority, the PSD won enough seats to form a coalition with the CDS-PP, and the PSD leader, José Manuel Durão Barroso, became Prime Minister. Durão Barroso later resigned his post to become President of the European Commission, leaving the way for Pedro Santana Lopes, a man with whom he was frequently at odds, to become leader of the party and Prime Minister.

In the parliamentary election held on 20 February 2005, Santana Lopes led the PSD to its worst defeat since 1983. With a negative swing of more than 12% percent, the party won only 75 seats, a loss of 30. The rival Socialist Party had won an absolute majority, and remained in government after the 2009 parliamentary election, albeit without an absolute majority, leaving the PSD in opposition.

The PSD-supported candidate Aníbal Cavaco Silva won the Portuguese presidential elections in 2006 and again in 2011.

In the European Parliament election held on 7 June 2009, the PSD defeated the governing socialists, capturing 31.7% of the popular vote and electing eight MEPs, while the Socialist Party only won 26.5% of the popular vote and elected seven MEPs.

Although this was expected to be a "redrawing of the electoral map", the PSD was still defeated later that year, though the PS lost its majority.

Growing popular disenchantment with the government's handling of the economic crisis coupled with the government's inability to secure the support of other parties to implement the necessary reforms to address the crisis forced the Socialist Party Prime Minister José Sócrates to resign, leading to fresh elections on 5 June 2011. The PSD, led by Pedro Passos Coelho, won the elections by a wide margin over the Socialists capturing 38,6% of the votes while the socialists captured only 28%, though they fell short of an absolute majority. The PSD formed a coalition with the CDS-PP and formed government, with Passos Coelho as Prime Minister, and the widest majority in the history of the Portuguese Parliament since the 1991 majority also held by the PSD.


Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Prime Minister 1981–1983
Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Prime Minister 1985–1995 and President from 2006 (term ends in 2016)

The PSD is frequently referred to as a party that is not ideology-based but rather a "power party" ("partido do poder").[12] It frequently adopts a functional big tent party strategy to win elections.[12] Due to this strategy, which most trace to Cavaco Silva's leadership,[13] the party is made up of many factions, mostly centre-right (including liberal democrats, Christian democrats and neoconservatives) as well as quasi-social-democrats and former Communists:

Durão Barroso, Prime Minister 2002–2004
Pedro Santana Lopes, Prime Minister 2004–2005

Election results

Assembly of the Republic

Election Assembly of the Republic Government Size Leader
Votes % ±pp Seats won +/−
1975 1,507,282 26.4%
81 / 250
Constituent assembly 2nd Francisco Sá Carneiro
1976 1,335,381 24.4% Decrease2.0
73 / 263
Decrease8 Opposition 2nd Francisco Sá Carneiro
1979 w. Democratic Alliance
80 / 250
Increase7 Majority gov't 1st Francisco Sá Carneiro
1980 w. Democratic Alliance
82 / 250
Increase2 Majority gov't 1st Francisco Sá Carneiro
1983 1,554,804 27.2%
75 / 250
Decrease7 Central Bloc gov't
2nd Carlos Mota Pinto
1985 1,732,288 29.9% Increase2.7
88 / 250
Increase13 Minority gov't 1st Aníbal Cavaco Silva
1987 2,850,784 50.2% Increase20.3
148 / 250
Increase60 Majority gov't 1st Aníbal Cavaco Silva
1991 2,902,351 50.6% Increase0.4
135 / 230
Decrease13 Majority gov't 1st Aníbal Cavaco Silva
1995 2,014,589 34.1% Decrease16.5
88 / 230
Decrease47 Opposition 2nd Fernando Nogueira
1999 1,750,158 32.3% Decrease1.8
81 / 230
Decrease7 Opposition 2nd José Manuel Durão Barroso
2002 2,200,765 40.2% Increase7.9
105 / 230
Increase24 Coalition gov't
1st José Manuel Durão Barroso
2005 1,653,425 28.8% Decrease11.4
75 / 230
Decrease30 Opposition 2nd Pedro Santana Lopes
2009 1,653,665 29.1% Increase0.3
81 / 230
Increase6 Opposition 2nd Manuela Ferreira Leite
2011 2,159,181 38.7% Increase9.6
108 / 230
Increase27 Coalition gov't
1st Pedro Passos Coelho
2015 w. Portugal Ahead
89 / 230
Decrease19 Opposition 1st Pedro Passos Coelho

European Parliament

Election European Parliament Size Candidate
Votes % ±pp Seats won +/
1987 2,111,828 37.5%
10 / 24
1st Pedro Santana Lopes
1989 1,358,958 32.8% Decrease4.7
9 / 24
Decrease1 1st António Capucho
1994 1,046,918 34.4% Increase1.6
9 / 25
Steady0 2nd Eurico de Melo
1999 1,078,528 31.1% Decrease3.3
9 / 25
Steady0 2nd José Pacheco Pereira
2004 w. Força Portugal
7 / 24
Decrease2 2nd João de Deus Pinheiro
2009 1,131,744 31.7%
8 / 22
Increase1 1st Paulo Rangel
2014 w. Aliança Portugal
6 / 21
Decrease2 2nd Paulo Rangel

List of leaders

Leader[A] From To
1st Francisco Sá Carneiro (first time) 6 May 1974 29 January 1978[B]
2nd António de Sousa Franco 29 January 1978 2 July 1978
3rd José Menéres Pimentel 2 July 1978 29 April 1979
4th Francisco Sá Carneiro (2nd time) 29 April 1979 4 December 1980
5th Francisco Pinto Balsemão 9 January 1981 27 February 1983
6th Nuno Rodrigues dos Santos 27 February 1983 4 April 1984
7th Carlos Mota Pinto 4 April 1984 7 May 1985
8th Aníbal Cavaco Silva 2 June 1985 19 February 1995
9th Fernando Nogueira 19 February 1995 29 March 1996
10th Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa 31 March 1996 27 May 1999
11th José Manuel Durão Barroso 27 May 1999 29 June 2004
12th Pedro Santana Lopes 29 June 2004 22 February 2005
13th Luís Marques Mendes 24 February 2005 28 September 2007
14th Luís Filipe Menezes 28 September 2007 31 May 2008
15th Manuela Ferreira Leite 31 May 2008 26 March 2010
16th Pedro Passos Coelho 26 March 2010 Present day
^A Leaders until Pinto Balsemão had the title of General-Secretary, which from then on
became the title of the second-in-command, with the leader's title being the one of President.
^B Emídio Guerreiro temporarily replaced Sá Carneiro in 1975 due to health reasons.
António Costa Pedro Passos Coelho José Sócrates Pedro Santana Lopes José Manuel Durão Barroso António Guterres Aníbal Cavaco Silva Francisco Pinto Balsemão Francisco Sá Carneiro Mário Soares Pedro Passos Coelho Manuela Ferreira Leite Luis Filipe Menezes Marques Mendes Santana Lopes Durão Barroso Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa Fernando Nogueira Aníbal Cavaco Silva Carlos Mota Pinto Francisco Pinto Balsemão Francisco Sá Carneiro António de Sousa Franco Francisco Sá Carneiro

List of General Secretaries (second-in-command)[54]

Prime ministers of the Republic

Presidents of the Republic

See also


  1. 1 2 "Partidos registados e suas denominações, siglas e símbolos" Tribunal Constitucional. (Portuguese)
  2. "PSD tem 54 mil militantes com quotas em dia". Jornal de Negócios. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  3. Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  4. 1 2 3 Dimitri Almeida (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. Taylor & Francis. pp. 99–101. ISBN 978-1-136-34039-0.
  5. Josep M. Colomer (2008). "Spain and Portugal: Rule by Party Leadership". In Josep M. Colomer. Comparative European Politics (3rd edition). Routledge. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-134-07354-2.
  6. Torsten Oppelland (2007). "Das Parteiensystem der Europäischen Union". In Oskar Niedermayer; Richard Stöss; Melanie Haas. Die Parteiensysteme Westeuropas. Springer-Verlag. p. 373. ISBN 978-3-531-90061-2.
  7. Vít Hloušek; Lubomír Kopeček (2010), Origin, Ideology and Transformation of Political Parties: East-Central and Western Europe Compared, Ashgate, p. 110
  8. André Freire (2007). "The Party System of Portugal". In Oskar Niedermayer; Richard Stöss; Melanie Haas. Die Parteiensysteme Westeuropas. Springer-Verlag. p. 373. ISBN 978-3-531-90061-2.
  9. Thomas Banchoff; Mitchell Smith (1999). Legitimacy and the European Union: The Contested Polity. Taylor & Francis. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-415-18188-4. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  10. Richard Gunther (1991). "Spain and Portugal". In Gerald Allen Dorfman; Peter J. Duignan. Politics in Western Europe. Hoover Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-8179-9123-4. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  11. Takis S. Pappas (2001). "In Search of the Center: Conservative Parties, Electoral Competition, and Political Legitimacy in Southern Europe's New Democracies". In Nikiforos P. Diamandouros; Richard Gunther. Parties, Politics, and Democracy in the New Southern Europe. JHU Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-0-8018-6518-3. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  12. 1 2 3 "Ideologia do PSD: entre Nacionalistas Croatas e Camponeses da Lituânia". 9 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  13. "O PSD no seu labirinto, A Mão Invisível". 16 October 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  14. "O partido da esquerda democrática". 14 October 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
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  16. PSD assume-se como partido liberal: só falta ser coerente e mudar o nome, 31 August 2009, Câmara dos Comuns. Retrieved 15 June 2010
  17. Povo Livre, first issue
  18. "Opções Inadiáveis". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  19. "Associação Social Democrata Independente". 30 April 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  20. "Movimento Social Democrata". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  21. "Pedro Lains: As duas Europas". 27 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  22. Partido Popular Democrático Partido Social Democrático. «uma ala rural, liderada por Sá carneiro (sic), e uma ala urbana, mais moderada e verdadeiramente social-democrata, próxima das posições de Helmut Schmidt.»
  23. the only exception of a self proclaimed "Party of the Portuguese Right" (until 1979 the Movement for the Independence and National Reconstruction (Movimento para a Independência e Reconstrução Nacional, MIRN), a far right and clearly pro-salazarist party led by Kaúlza de Arriaga. see KAÚLZA DE ARRIAGA: o general sem vitórias and
  24. As ameaças ao modelo social europeu vs. a incapacidade dos partidos liberais venceram eleições: o dilema do PSD (portuguese)
  25. "Partido Liberal 1974". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  26. Sociais Democratas & Liberais: o PSD impossível Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  27. Anónimo (não verificado) (30 October 2009). "Liberais vs. conservadores". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  28. Publicada por João Pedro Freire (23 October 2007). "Europa dos Governos e dos Estados ... A Europa de Sócrates & Barroso". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  29. "O PSD e o Futuro, 2008-04-28 – Mário Duarte". 28 April 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  30. PSD – Alexandre Relvas apela a Paulo Rangel e Aguiar-Branco para candidatura única, 14 February 2010, Destak paper]
  31. 1 2 Afinal como é que é?, 29 January 2010, last comment
  32. Folha laranja, Juventude Social Democrata, Alges
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  35. Paulo Rangel. "Não se deve excluir uma maioria absoluta do PSD", Maria João Avillez, 13 March 2010, i newspaper
  36. compare with Santana Lopes' description of his recruiting in Lisbon University by Sá Carneiro on late night talk show 5 Para a Meia-Noite, RTP 2, 2 September 2009
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  38. O jogral dos tempos que correm Archived 29 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
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  40. "Vanunu". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
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  42. A tradução de Pacheco Pereira do discurso suicida de Cavaco Archived 18 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  43. As ameaças ao modelo social europeu vs. a incapacidade dos partidos liberais venceram eleições: o dilema do PSD Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  44. "Direita Neoliberal ou Conservadora, jornal I online". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  45. 1 2 Por:António Ribeiro Ferreira. "Correio da Manhã". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  46. 1 2 PSD: Cinco grupos a elaborar programas. Qual o aquele em que o país deve acreditar?, Quarta-feira, 27 de Maio de 2009, O valor das ideias Archived 29 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  47. É tão bom ter um Cavaco em Belém, Paulo Gaião, 2008-10-24 01:36, Semanário
  48. "EXP-TC não dá razão a Cavaco, Agosto 31, 2009, Autor: Filipe Santos Costa". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  49. "1962, José Adelino Maltez, História do Presente, 2006". 30 April 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  50. late night talk show 5 Para a Meia-Noite, RTP 2, 28 July 2009
  51. during his interview with Mário Crespo, the main transversalist/centrist leader, Passos Coelho, referred the return to social democratic party roots as essential.
  52. "(2732) O COMPLEXO DE ESQUERDA, TOMAR PARTIDO Sexta-feira, 2 de Maio de 2008". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  53. PSD: Liberalismo de Passos Coelho e impostos no centro do debate da TVI Archived 29 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  54. Filme Secretários Gerais PSD 1975 2012,
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