Socialist Party (Portugal)

Not to be confused with Portuguese Socialist Party.
Socialist Party
Partido Socialista
Abbreviation PS
President Carlos César
Secretary-General António Costa
Founder Mário Soares
Founded 19 April 1973 (1973-04-19)
Legalized 1 February 1975 (1975-02-01)[1]
Preceded by Acção Socialista Portuguesa
Headquarters Largo do Rato 2,
1269–143 Lisboa
Newspaper Acção Socialista
Student wing Estudantes Socialistas
Youth wing Socialist Youth
Women's wing Departamento Nacional das Mulheres Socialistas
Membership  (2012) 83,524[2]
Ideology Social democracy[3][4]
Third Way[4]
Political position Centre-left
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
International affiliation Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Trade union affiliation General Union of Workers
Colours      Red (official)
     Pink (customary)
Assembly of the Republic
86 / 230
8 / 21
37 / 104
929 / 2,086

The Socialist Party (Portuguese: Partido Socialista, pronounced: [pɐɾˈtiðu susiɐˈliʃtɐ]), PS) is a social-democratic[5][6] political party in Portugal. It was founded on 19 April 1973 in the German city of Bad Münstereifel, by militants from Portuguese Socialist Action (Portuguese: Acção Socialista Portuguesa). The PS is one of the two major parties in Portuguese politics, its rival being the center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD).

The current leader of the PS, and prime minister of Portugal, is António Costa. José Sócrates, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, was the leader of the party until 5 June 2011. The party has currently 86 of 230 seats in the Portuguese Parliament following the October 2015 election.

Sócrates resigned as General Secretary on election night of 5 June 2011, due to having lost the general election by a margin higher than expected. Seguro was elected as leader of the party on 23 July, winning 68% of the vote against his challenger, Francisco Assis, who got 32%.

PS is a member of the Socialist International, Progressive Alliance and Party of European Socialists, and has eight members in the European Parliament within the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) Group during the eighth parliament.


António Costa, Prime Minister since November 2015 and Secretary-General since 2014.

The Socialist Party (PS) was created at a conference of Portuguese Socialist Action (ASP), at that time in exile, on 19 April 1973, in Bad Münstereifel in West Germany. The twenty-seven delegates decided to found a party of socialism and freedom, making an explicit reference to a classless society and without Marxism, redesigned as a source of principal inspiration.

On 25 April 1974, the Carnation Revolution brought down the authoritarian regime of the Estado Novo, established in 1933, and democracy was restored. The general secretary of the PS, Mário Soares, returned to Portugal after being in exile in France, and became Minister of Foreign Affairs, and António de Almeida Santos was appointed Minister of Interjurisdictional Coordination in one of the first provisional governments.

After the Revolution, elections were called for the 25 April 1975 and the Socialist Party (PS) won the 1975 election for the Constituent Assembly and the 1976 elections for the National Assembly, then losing to the Democratic Alliance (AD) in the 1979 legislative election.

In 1980, the PS made an electoral alliance called the Republican and Socialist Front (FRS), between the Independent Social Democrats (ASDI), led by Sousa Franco, and the Leftwing Union for the Socialist Democracy (UEDS), led by Lopes Cardoso. The alliance failed to defeat the AD.

They won the 1983 general election, but without an absolute majority, the Socialists formed a grand coalition with the centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD), creating a "Central Block". The new government began negotiations for Portugal to enter the European Economic Community (EEC). In 1985 the Central Block broke down and the PS at the time led by Almeida Santos, lost the 1985 legislative election. Cavaco Silva's PSD won the 1985 elections and again in 1987 and 1991 with absolute majority. The PS was in opposition for more than ten years.

In 1995, the Socialist Party, then led by António Guterres, won a general election for the first time in twelve years, and in 1999, they failed to obtain what would have been an historic absolute majority for the party by only one MP. In 2001, after a massive defeat in the 2001 local elections, António Guterres resigned as Prime Minister and called for new elections in 2002. The Socialist Party lost the 2002 general election by a small margin to the PSD, who formed a coalition government with the People's Party (CDS–PP).

In June 2004, the PS won the 2004 European elections by a landslide, and a few weeks later, Durão Barroso, leader of the PSD and Prime Minister, resigned to become President of the European Commission. In December 2004, Jorge Sampaio, President of the Republic, called fresh elections for February 2005. These elections resulted in a landslide victory for the PS, winning for the first time since its foundation an absolute majority. José Sócrates, leader of the PS, became Prime Minister.

In 2009, after four-and-a-half years in power, the PS lost the European Parliament elections to the PSD. However, they won the general election held on 27 September but failed to renew the absolute majority they won in the 2005 election.

The financial crisis of 2011 hit Portugal very hard, prompting Sócrates' government to impose harsh austerity measures. On 23 March 2011, the entire opposition in Parliament said no to new measures proposed by the government. As a result of this, José Sócrates resigned as Prime Minister and a snap election took place on 5 June 2011.

In the elections, the PS suffered a huge setback, with 28.1% of the vote, ten points behind the PSD, who formed another coalition government with the CDS-PP. Sócrates resigned as General Secretary on election night after the PS's worst result since 1987. On 23 July 2011, António José Seguro was elected as Sócrates' successor.

The PS, under the leadership of Seguro, won the 2013 local elections making significant gains over the PSD and the Socialists again won the European elections on May 2014 but this time only just. They won 31.5% of the vote against the almost 28% of the alliance between the PSD and CDS-PP. The result was considered quite a disappointment to many Socialist party members and supporters and on May 27 António Costa, the then mayor of Lisbon, announced that he would stood for the leadership of the Socialist Party.[7] António José Seguro refused to call a new congress and leadership election and instead called for a primary election, to be held on 28 September, to elect the party's candidate for Prime Minister in the 2015 general elections.[8]

Election results

Assembly of the Republic

Election Assembly of the Republic Government Size Leader
Votes % ±pp Seats won +/−
1975 2,162,972 37.9%
116 / 250
Constituent assembly 1st Mário Soares
1976 1,912,921 34.9% Decrease3.0
107 / 263
Decrease9 Minority gov't 1st Mário Soares
1979 1,642,136 27.3% Decrease7.6
74 / 250
Decrease33 Opposition 2nd Mário Soares
1980 w. Republican and Socialist Front
66 / 250
Decrease8 Opposition 2nd Mário Soares
1983 2,061,309 36.1%
101 / 250
Increase35 Central Bloc gov't
1st Mário Soares
1985 1,204,321 20.8% Decrease15.3
57 / 250
Decrease44 Opposition 2nd Almeida Santos
1987 1,262,506 22.2% Increase1.4
60 / 250
Increase3 Opposition 2nd Vítor Constâncio
1991 1,670,758 29.1% Increase6.9
72 / 230
Increase12 Opposition 2nd Jorge Sampaio
1995 2,583,755 43.8% Increase14.7
112 / 230
Increase40 Minority gov't 1st António Guterres
1999 2,385,922 44.1% Increase0.3
115 / 230
Increase3 Minority gov't 1st António Guterres
2002 2,068,584 37.8% Decrease6.3
96 / 230
Decrease19 Opposition 2nd Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues
2005 2,588,312 45.0% Increase7.2
121 / 230
Increase25 Majority gov't 1st José Sócrates
2009 2,077,238 36.6% Decrease8.4
97 / 230
Decrease24 Minority gov't 1st José Sócrates
2011 1,566,347 28.1% Decrease8.5
74 / 230
Decrease23 Opposition 2nd José Sócrates
2015 1,747,685 32.3% Increase4.2
86 / 230
Increase12 Minority gov't
Supported by BE-PCP-PEV
2nd António Costa

European Parliament

Election European Parliament Size Candidate
Votes % ±pp Seats won +/
1987 1,267,672 22.5%
6 / 24
2nd Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo
1989 1,184,380 28.5% Increase6.0
8 / 24
Increase2 2nd João Cravinho
1994 1,061,560 34.9% Increase6.4
10 / 25
Increase2 1st António Vitorino
1999 1,493,146 43.1% Increase8.2
12 / 25
Increase2 1st Mário Soares
2004 1,516,001 44.5% Increase1.4
12 / 24
Steady0 1st António Costa
2009 946,818 26.5% Decrease18.0
7 / 22
Decrease5 2nd Vital Moreira
2014 1,033,158 31.5% Increase5.0
8 / 21
Increase1 1st Francisco Assis

List of important people

Mário Soares, founder, Prime Minister 1976–1978 and 1983–1985.
António Guterres, Prime Minister from 1995 to 2002.
José Sócrates, Secretary General of the PS 2004-2011 and Prime Minister 2005-2011.
Carlos César, President of the Government of the Azores from 1996 to 2012 and the current President of the Socialist Party.
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 António Costa António José Seguro José Sócrates Ferro Rodrigues António Guterres Jorge Sampaio Vítor Constâncio Almeida Santos Mário Soares


Party Presidents

Presidents of the Assembly

Prime Ministers

Presidents of the Republic

See also


  1. "Partidos registados e suas denominações, siglas e símbolos" Tribunal Constitucional. (Portuguese)
  2. Pedro, Rainho (29 December 2012). "Partidos têm 300 mil militantes. PS com o dobro das novas adesões do PSD de Passos". Jornal i. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  3. Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  4. 1 2 Lobo, Marina Costa; Magalhães, Pedro C. (2004). Bonoli, Giuliano; Powell, Martin, eds. The Portuguese Socialists and the Third Way (1st ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 83–101. ISBN 0415304253.
  5. Dimitri Almeida (27 April 2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. CRC Press. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-1-136-34039-0. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  6. Sir Adam Roberts; Timothy Garton Ash (3 September 2009). Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present. Oxford University Press. p. 367. ISBN 978-0-19-161917-5.
  7. Nuno, Sá Lourenço (27 May 2014). "António Costa avança para a liderança do PS". Público. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  8. Telma, Roque (6 June 2014). "Aprovada a realização de eleições primárias no PS a 28 de setembro". Jornal de Notícias. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
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