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Democratic and Social Centre - People's Party
Centro Democrático e Social - Partido Popular
Leader Paulo Portas
Founded 1974
Headquarters Largo Adelino Amaro da Costa 5, 1149-063 Lisbon
Ideology Conservatism[1]
Christian democracy[1]
Classical liberalism
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament Group European People's Party
Official colours Blue
Politics of Portugal
Political parties

The Democratic and Social Centre - People's Party (Portuguese: Centro Democrático e Social - Partido Popular, pronounced [pɐɾˈtidu du ˈsẽtɾu dɨmuˈkɾatiku i susiˈaɫ pɐɾˈtidu pupuˈlaɾ], or CDS-PP) is a Portuguese right-wing political party, with an ideological foundation of Christian democracy, Conservatism and Classical liberalism, founded in 19 July 1974, by Diogo Freitas do Amaral, Adelino Amaro da Costa, Basílio Horta, Vítor Sá Machado, Valentim Xavier Pintado, João Morais Leitão and João Porto. In voting ballots its name appears only as People's Party, with the acronym CDS-PP unchanged.

It has been in various governments, always in coalition: with the Socialist Party (Partido Socialista, PS) of Mário Soares, the Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrata, PSD) and the People's Monarchist Party (Partido Popular Monárquico, PPM) in the Democratic Alliance (Aliança Democrática, AD) from 1978 to 1980, and again with the PSD after the legislative election of 2002.

In the Portuguese legislative election of 2005 held on 20 February, the party elected 12 deputies to the Assembly of the Republic. The outcome of the election was below the expectations of the party leader at the time, Paulo Portas, who presented his resignation.

The CDS-PP current leader is Paulo Portas who leads a parliamentary group of 21 deputies out of 230 seats in the Assembly of the Republic.

In the Portuguese abortion referendum, 2007 the party officially positioned itself against the legalization of abortion up to ten weeks of pregnancy.

The party's two members in the European Parliament used to sit in the ED section of the EPP-ED Group but in 2006 they switched to the EPP section in a rapprochement effort with the European People's Party.

The party also has autonomous organizations which share its political beliefs, the People's Youth (Juventude Popular) and the Federation of the Christian Democrat Workers (Federação dos Trabalhadores Democratas Cristãos).





The Democratic and Social Centre was founded on 19 July 1974. By that time, Portugal was living an unstable political moment: instability, violence and great social tensions were evident after the Carnation Revolution held on 25 April of the same year. The then CDS declared itself as a party rigorously at the centre of the political spectrum, but by then it already counted with a major slice of the Portuguese right-wing in its affiliations. In 13 January 1975, the leaders of the CDS delivered at the Supreme Court of Justice the necessary documentation to legalize the party. The first congress was held in 25 January 1975, at the Rosa Mota Pavilion, Porto.

First years of opposition

After 25 March 1975, a regime centred in social matters, state control of the economy and military leadership began its efforts to dominate the nation, which summed up with the COPCON (a post-revolutionary military organization founded in 1974) and the constant attacks perpretated on the western social democrat model, led the CDS to declare itself officially as an opposition party. Its 16 deputies cast the only votes against the socialist-influenced Constitution of 1976, on 2 April. In the legislative election of 1976, the CDS achieved its objectives by having 42 deputies elected and so surpassing the Portuguese Communist Party (Partido Comunista Português, PCP).

The Democratic Alliance

In 1979 the CDS proposed a coalition to the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Monarchist Party. The proposal brought about the creation of the Democratic Alliance, known as AD (Portuguese: Aliança Democrática), headed by Francisco Sá Carneiro, which won the general elections of 1979 and 1980.

In the AD governments the CDS was represented by five ministers and ten secretaries of state, with the president of the party, Diogo Freitas do Amaral, being nominated to the offices of Vice Prime-Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs (later nominated Vice Prime-Minister and Minister of National Defence).

On the night of 4 December 1980, the then Prime-Minister of Portugal, Francisco Sá Carneiro, Minister of National Defence, Adelino Amaro da Costa, and others, died in a plane crash. The president of the CDS, Diogo Freitas do Amaral, stood in for Francisco Sá Carneiro until the nomination of a new government, this time headed by Francisco Pinto Balsemão. The VII Constitutional Government collapsed on 4 September 1981, after the resignation of Freitas do Amaral from the government and from the presidency of the party, putting an end to the AD.

An opposition of 20 years

After the collapse of the AD, the party looked for a new leader and new direction. Freitas do Amaral's successor was Adriano Moreira, who, when having been unable to stop the party's negative performance, did not stand for re-election. Freitas do Amaral returned as party president, during a period characterised by the electoral success of the PSD, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, to lead a rump of 4 deputies (later 5) in parliament. Freitas do Amaral left the party in 1992.

In 1992 a new generation took over the party and in March of that year, at the party’s 10th Congress, the ex-president of the Centrist Youth (the then youth organization of the CDS), Manuel Monteiro, was elected to the presidency. A year later, at an extraordinary congress, the name "Partido Popular" was added to the party's name in an effort to emulate the Spanish party of the same name.

The CDS-PP underwent an electoral recovery in the general election of 1995, electing 15 deputies. However, following poor electoral results in local elections in 1997, Manuel Monteiro resigned and was replaced at the party's Braga congress by Paulo Portas who defeated Maria José Nogueira Pinto. Portas proposed a return to the party's Christian Democrat roots and set himself the challenge of keeping all 15 seats in parliament in the general election of 1999. This was accomplished.

The "Democratic Coalition"

After a massive electoral defeat in the 2001 local elections, the then PS Prime Minister António Guterres resigned with a general election being held in early 2002. The PSD won a relative majority, forcing them to enter into a coalition, 20 years after their previous coalition government, with the CDS-PP. The CDS-PP gained three ministries: Paulo Portas at the Ministry of Defence, Bagão Felix at the Ministry of Social Security and Celeste Cardona at the Ministry of Justice.

In the summer of 2004, the then prime-minister José Manuel Durão Barroso, resigned to become president of the European Commission and in order to avoid an early general election, President Jorge Sampaio invited Pedro Santana Lopes to form a new PSD/CDS-PP government. Unfortunately due to low popularity and what was seen as the inept handling of the country by the new Prime Minister, parliament was dissolved after just four months and a new general election was held.

Portuguese general election of 2005

The CDS-PP ran alone and with great electoral hopes. The party established ambitious goals: to remain the third force in parliament, prevent the PS from achieving an absolute majority and win 10% of the national vote. The party failed in all its aims and lost two of its 14 deputies. This electoral failure, along with the defeat of the PSD led to Paulo Portas's resignation and a congress to elect a new leader.

"Portugal 2009"

After the resignation of Paulo Portas, who had led the CDS-PP with charisma for seven years, the party was feeling “orphaned”, and the absence of candidates accentuated that feeling. Two candidates then emerged: Telmo Correia and José Ribeiro e Castro, with the former being looked on as a favourite, following the line and style of Paulo Portas. However, José Ribeiro e Castro conquered the congress with his motion, “Portugal 2009”, being elected. The day after, José Ribeiro e Castro was elected president of the CDS-PP. In May 2007, however, Paulo Portas was again elected as the leader of the party.

Position on abortion

The CDS-PP has always strongly opposed the legalization of abortion in Portugal and is officially a pro-life party. It had campaigned vigorously against the legalization of abortion up to ten weeks in the Portuguese abortion referendum, 1998 and in the Portuguese abortion referendum, 2007, where under the current law abortions are allowed up to 12 weeks if the mother's life or mental or physical health is at risk, up to 16 weeks in cases of rape and up to 24 weeks if the child may be born with an incurable disease or deformity; whereas the new law proposal will allow abortions on request up to the tenth week. The CDS-PP has proposed what it considers to be responsible alternatives based on the "right to life" to solve the problem of illegal abortion and of abortion itself.

Legislative election results (1974-2009)

Portuguese Electoral Commission
Election year # of total votes  % of overall vote # of seats
1975 434,879 7.6% 16
1976 876,007 16.0% 42
1979 AD coalition (PSD, CDS, PPM) 2,554,458 42,5% 42
1980 AD coalition (PSD, CDS, PPM) 2,706,667 44,9% 46
1983 716,705 12.6% 30
1985 577,580 10.0% 22
1987 251,987 4,4% 4
1991 264,317 4.4% 5
1995 534,470 9,0% 15
1999 451,543 8,3% 15
2002 477,350 8,7% 14
2005 416,415 7.3% 12
2009 592,778 10.4% 21

List of leaders


External links


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