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Pedro Santana Lopes
Pedro Santana Lopes.jpg
118th Prime Minister of Portugal
Order: 118th Prime Minister of Portugal
(64rd of the Republic)
(16th since the Carnation Revolution)
Term of Office 17 July 2004 - 12 March 2005
Predecessor: José Manuel Durão Barroso
Successor: José Sócrates
Date of Birth June 29, 1956
Place of Birth: Lisbon
Political Party: Social Democratic
Religion: Roman Catholicism

Pedro Miguel de Santana Lopes (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpedɾu sɐ̃ˈtɐnɐ ˈlɔpɨʃ]; born 29 June 1956 in Lisbon, Campo Grande), a Portuguese lawyer and politician, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 2004 to 2005. He is a former and current Member of the Portuguese Parliament.

Contents

Background

Santana Lopes was born in Lisbon, Campo Grande, to Aníbal Luís Lopes (Lisbon, São Sebastião da Pedreira, 17 February 1933 -), a Company Administrator whose maternal grandfather's maternal grandfather was a relative of famous Portuguese Miguelist outlaw and bandit João Brandão,[1] and wife (m. Lisbon, São Sebastião da Pedreira, 27 February 1954) Maria Ivone Risques Pereira de Santana (Lisbon, São Sebastião da Pedreira, 3 May 1931 - Lisbon, 23 March 1999), a half-great-great-great-niece of the 2nd Baron of Brissos.

Biography

He graduated as a Licentiate in Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, where he was Leader of the Student Union, becoming a lawyer. He joined the Portuguese Social Democratic Party (PSD) in 1976, and has remained a member ever since. There he started his career as a Deputy to the Assembly of the Republic.

In 1979, he became a Legal Advisor to Prime Minister Francisco Sá Carneiro, and has presented himself as a follower of his for all his political life.

In 1986, he became Assistant State Secretary to Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva, an office he left the next year to lead to PSD list to the European Parliament, where he remained for two years of his five-year-term.

In 1991, Cavaco Silva called him to Government and appointed him Secretary of State for Culture. Leaving office, he successively ran for, and won, President of Sporting Clube de Portugal, Mayor of Figueira da Foz (the only time that he completed a term in office), and Mayor of Lisbon. During this period he also earned a living as a sports and political commentator and founded a weekly newspaper, Semanário. In 1998, he announced his withdrawal from politics, following a comical sketch in private TV station which presented him and his private life in a very unfavourable light.

After three unsuccessful attempts to become leader of his party, Santana Lopes rose to Vice-President under José Manuel Durão Barroso, who had once called him "a mix of (astrologer) Zandinga and (sports commentator) Gabriel Alves." [1] When Barroso resigned in July 2004 to take up the Presidency of the European Commission, Santana Lopes became the PSD leader and President. As his party was the major partner in the coalition government at the time, he also moved to Prime Minister, suspending his term as Mayor of Lisbon.

Meanwhile he also had a program of political analysis joint with José Sócrates on RTP.

Prime minister

The leadership of Santana Lopes was made difficult by a number of inherited economic and political problems. When his party first took power, the country’s economy was in a poor state, with a rising government-spending deficit, partially because of policies focused on public expenditure by the previous governments (led by Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD) and António Guterres of the Socialist Party) and the early 2000s recession. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, "Portugal became the first country to breach the EU's 'excessive deficit' rule with a budget deficit of 4.4% of GDP in 2001, well above the 3% of GDP ceiling set by the EU's Stability and Growth Pact."[2] The situation inherited by Santana Lopes was a little better, as the previous government led by Barroso had been able to comply with European Union directives regarding the deficit by selling State assets.

Santana Lopes himself failed to gain a reputation as a competent Prime Minister.[citation needed] His unusual rise to power, as Barroso's successor rather than by election, contributed to these difficulties. Although his appointment was in fact constitutional, he was not a Member of Parliament but only a municipal leader, as the Mayor of Lisbon, and many columnists thus saw him as an illegitimate Prime Minister[citation needed], a view shared by a large section of the public[citation needed].

The short career of Santana Lopes as Prime Minister began with some members of government being shuffled between departments on the same afternoon as the government was being inaugurated. His Minister of Defense Paulo Portas looked surprised during the ceremony when he was announced as the Minister for National Defense and Sea Affairs. Portas' look of surprise when the name of his office was announced was broadcast live on television.

Santana Lopes' period in office was also marked by chaos in the allocation of teachers to schools[citation needed] (more than a month after classes officially started, and resulting from alleged incompetence of the IT provider (designated during the previous Government); the problem was swiftly solved by another small provider), and by claims of pressure exerted on the press, including arranging for the replacement of the information director of the public television channel RTP, and pressing private television channel TVI to tone down the criticism of him by a political commentator, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa,[citation needed] a former leader of his own party, who consequently left the channel.

The Government of Santana Lopes got a death sentence on 30 November 2004 when President Jorge Sampaio announced that he was calling an early Parliament election for February 2005, from which a new Government would be formed, after Henrique Chaves, a Santana Lopes loyalist, resigned after four days as minister for sport, claiming that Santana Lopes lacked "loyalty and truth".[2]

Santana Lopes announced the resignation of the government on 11 December so that his Government would assume just a caretaker role until the election. He went on to lead his party to its worst result in parliamentary elections in Portugal; the election of 20 February 2005 was won by the Socialist Party led by José Sócrates, with whom Santana Lopes had debated every Sunday for one year on the public television station, RTP. Santana Lopes did not follow his coalition partner Paulo Portas and did not resign on election night, instead leaving the party leadership two days later.

Two days after the inauguration of the new government, he returned to complete his term as mayor of Lisbon. However, when his party failed to endorse him as a candidate for the 2005 municipal elections, he resigned his office one month before the vote, to assume his seat in the Parliament, which he immediately suspended to return to

Gaffes

Santana Lopes is known for his Quaylesque gaffes,[citation needed] which include:

Bibliography

  • Co-author with José Manuel Durão Barroso: Sistema de Governo e Sistema Partidário, Livraria Bertrand, 1980.
  • Os Sistemas de Governos Mistos e o actual Sistema Português, Difel Editorial, 2001.
  • Percepções e Realidade, Alêtheia Editores, 2006.

Footnotes

  1. ^ Raízes e Memórias, Associação Portuguesa de Genealogia, Lisboa
  2. ^ Economist Intelligence Unit, January 11, 2005
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