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Mario Soares a committed democrat and Socialist

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By Christopher Cummins  with Agencies
Mario Soares a committed democrat and Socialist

Seldom is a politician admired by both friends and political enemies, but former Portuguese President Mario Soares was such a man.

The ardent Socialist and democrat was central to Portuguese political life for four decades.

Crowds thronged to welcome his return to Lisbon in 1974 following the Carnation Revolution.

Soares, after three years in prison and exile in France and Switzerland, thanks to the regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, he returned to lead the democratic transition.

He took his place in the countries first transitional government and was involved in drafting the new constitution.

He became prime minister in 1976 following the first post-revolution elections.

Born in Lisbon in 1924, Mario Soares was a qualified lawyer who defended those opposed to the Salazar dictatorship. He married Maria Barroso and they had two children.

He served as foreign secretary and held the prime ministers office on three occasions.

He was the architect of Portugal’s entry into the European Economic Community and went on to win the Portuguese presidential election in 1986.

His popularity continued to rise and was re-elected for a second term.

He has been recognised on the world stage winning dozens of awards across the globe and acted as a confident to some of the towering political figures of his age.

In 2006, at the age of 81 years, he ran for the presidency a third time,
but failed he then became a committed voice of public opinion.

In 2011 in a euronews interview he denounced the “Monsters of our time.”

He added: ‘‘It is the dominance of economic affairs over countries that is a tragedy for any state. I feel the European Union is currently experiencing the greatest crisis in its history and if it continues like this Europe will have no future in the world.”

Soares was committed to democracy until his death, one of his last public appearances was outside Lisbon town hall in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015 .

Mario Soares democrat and Socialist born on the 7th December 1924 died on January 7th 2017.