Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
|President of Portugal|
9 March 2016
|Aníbal Cavaco Silva|
|President of the Social Democratic Party|
29 March 1996 - 1 May 1999
|José Manuel Barroso|
|Leader of the Opposition|
29 March 1996 - 1 May 1999
|José Manuel Barroso|
|Minister of Parliamentary Affairs|
12 June 1982 - 9 June 1983
|Francisco Pinto Balsemão|
|António de Almeida Santos|
|Secretary of State for the Premiership|
4 September 1981 - 13 June 1982
|Francisco Pinto Balsemão|
|José Luís da Cruz Vilaça|
Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa
|Political party||Independent (2015-present)|
Social Democratic Party (1975-2015)
Ana Cristina Motta Veiga
(m. 1972; sep. 1980)
|Domestic partner||Rita Amaral Cabral (1980-present)|
|Relatives||Baltasar Rebelo de Sousa (Father)|
|Residence||Belém Palace (official)|
|Alma mater||University of Lisbon|
Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa (Portuguese pronunciation: [m's?lu 'nunu 'dwa?t? 'belu d? 'soz?]), ComSE, GCIH (born 12 December 1948) is a Portuguese politician, academic and journalist serving as the 20th and current President of Portugal, since 9 March 2016. A former member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Rebelo de Sousa has served as a government minister, parliamentarian in the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, legal scholar, journalist, political analyst, law professor and pundit gaining him nationwide recognition prior to his election.
Born in Lisbon, he is the eldest son of Baltasar Rebelo de Sousa (1921-2001) and his wife Maria das Neves Fernandes Duarte (1921-2003). He has said that his mother had Jewish ancestry. He is named after his godfather, Marcelo Caetano, the last Prime Minister of the Estado Novo regime.
Rebelo de Sousa started his career during the Estado Novo as a lawyer, and later as a journalist. He joined the Popular Democratic Party, becoming a Deputy to the Assembly of the Republic. During that time, he helped draft Portugal's constitution in 1976. Later he rose to Adjoint Minister of Prime Minister Francisco Pinto Balsemão. Together with him he was a Co-Founder, Director and Administrator of the Expresso newspaper, owned by Pinto Balsemão. He was also the Founder of Sedes and the Founder and President of the Administration Council of another newspaper, Semanário. He started as a political analyst and pundit on TSF radio with his Exams, in which he gave marks (0 to 20) to the main political players.
In 1989 he ran for Mayor of the Municipal Chamber of Lisbon (Mayor of Lisbon) but lost to Jorge Sampaio, though he did win a seat as City Councilor (Vereador). In that campaign he took a plunge into the waters of the Tagus River to prove they were not polluted despite claims to the contrary.
Rebelo de Sousa was leader of the Social Democratic Party from 31 March 1996 to 27 May 1999 (some weeks before his election as party leader, he declared he would not be a leadership candidate, "not even if Christ came down to Earth"). He created a center-right coalition, the Democratic Alliance, with the People's Party in 1998. He became, however, the Vice-President of the European People's Party-European Democrats. The coalition did not please large parts of its own party, due to the role the People's Party leader, Paulo Portas, had in undermining Cavaco Silva's government while director of the weekly O Independente.
Rebelo de Sousa resigned after Portas, in a TV interview, described a private talk they had had concerning this matter. Portas claimed Marcelo, as an anonymous source for O Independente, described in great detail a dinner where he was not present, down to the menu (which included vichyssoise, a cold soup); when Paulo Portas later reneged on the decision of the coalition established between their parties -- which was made before that dinner -- the term "vichyssoise" became a reference to that "revenge served cold". For these and other inconsistencies, he was called by Manuel Maria Carrilho political gelatin. A speech, in which he condemned the Portuguese habit of expecting a Messiah and a Dom Sebastião, was not well taken. The failure of the coalition led to his public and televised demission.
He had a weekly program of political analysis every Sunday on public TV station RTP after previously having a similar program on the private TV station TVI, where he was introduced as being "the wisest and most perspicacious political analyst of current times". His comments covered everything from politics to sports, including his famous presentations and comments on the newest published books, and they were sometimes controversial, some of the comments being seen as personal and political attacks.
In his analysis, still in TVI, he often attacked Pedro Santana Lopes, accusing him of being "truculent, a cudgeller and resentful", and not "having the profile to be a President of the Republic". This animosity remained until after Santana Lopes became Prime Minister, with a particular commentary on his performance finishing with the statement that he was "worse than the worst Guterres" and that he was "making Guterres look better and pushing them to Belém", leading to a response from Santana Lopes' Government Speaker Rui Gomes da Silva, who accused him of an "involuntary cabal". The president of the network, Miguel Pais do Amaral, asked in a private dinner that Marcelo be more moderate in his attacks, something that Marcelo took as a form of censorship, leading to his exit from the program and the channel. It was after that episode that he was hired by RTP.
Partially in consequence of these events, President Jorge Sampaio dissolved the Assembly of the Republic, a move that also meant dismissing the Government at a time when it had a stable coalition majority, and calling for anticipated elections, which led to the defeat of Santana Lopes and the election of the Socialists under José Sócrates.
In 2010, he left RTP and returned to TVI to do the same program that he had before.
He was a leading figure on the pro-life side of the 2007 abortion referendum. He even founded a website titled "Assim Não" (Not like this), which was divulged with a famous introductory video. It became so well known that it was parodied in Saturday Night Live-fashion by famous humour group Gato Fedorento.
On 24 January 2016, Rebelo de Sousa was elected as President of Portugal in the first round of voting. He stood as an independent, appealing for moderation and cross-party consensus. During his election campaign, he promised to repair political divisions and the hardship of Portugal's 2011-14 bailout. Unlike his predecessor, Anibal Cavaco Silva, he had never previously held a top state position.
Following a historic agreement with the Republic of Portugal in 2015, His Highness the Aga Khan IV officially designated the premises located at Rua Marquês de Fronteira in Lisbon -- the Henrique de Mendonça Palace -- as the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat on July 11, 2018, and declared that it be known as the "Diwan of the Ismaili Imamat". Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has also offered the Aga Khan Portuguese nationality.
In March 2020, Rebelo de Sousa asked parliament to authorize a state of emergency to contain the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic; this marked the first time the country declared a state of emergency nationwide in 46 years of democratic history.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, as President of Portugal, has visited the Vatican, Spain, Mozambique, Morocco, Brazil, Switzerland, Cuba, United Kingdom, Greece and Angola. The first visit was to the Vatican City to meet the Pope Francis and the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. In 2019, he joined President Emmanuel Macron for the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, which honoured European military cooperation and the European Intervention Initiative that year.
On 28 December 2017, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was admitted at Curry Cabral Hospital, in Lisbon, where he was subjected to a surgery to treat an umbilical hernia. The procedure was performed by Eduardo Barroso, a veteran surgeon who is also a close friend of the President since early childhood. After the surgery, Barroso informed the press that all went well and that Marcelo's condition had been known for at least six years, also referring that the surgery was initially due to occur on 4 January 2018. However, on the morning of 28 December, the President felt abdominal pain, and an examination by his official physician, Daniel Matos, revealed that the hernia was incarcerated and required immediate surgery. On 29 December, the Presidency official website published a clinical report, informing that Marcelo was cheerful and recovering well. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was discharged from hospital on 31 December by 12:45 PM, and left the premises by his own foot, while greeted and applauded by some hospital staff and other patients. He lauded the Portuguese National Health Service, considering it an important conquest of democracy.
On 23 June 2018, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa felt indisposed and collapsed after a visit to Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary in Braga, in a day where temperatures were close to 40 °C. He was transported to the hospital where, after several exams, it was revealed the incident was caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure alongside an acute gastroenteritis. He was discharged from hospital later on the same day and was told to rest for some days.
On 9 March 2020, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa suspended all his public agenda and initiated a voluntary quarantine period for 14 days, after being revealed that a group of students from Felgueiras, who had visited Belém Palace some days before, had also been quarantined after a positive case of COVID-19 was detected in their school. Marcelo was tested for the virus on the next day, returning a negative result.
On 27 July 1972, Rebelo de Sousa married Ana Cristina da Gama Caeiro da Mota Veiga in the parish of São Bento do Mato in Évora. The bride, born on 4 June 1950 in the Santos-o-Velho parish of Lisbon, is the daughter of António da Mota Veiga and Maria Emília da Gama Caeiro and current widow without issue of Jorge Manuel Vassalo Sors Lagrifa (7 May 1948 - 2 February 2005; maternal grandson of Manuel António Vassalo e Silva). In the following years, Sousa and Mota Veiga had two children:
The couple separated in 1980 but never got divorced, with Sousa citing his Roman Catholic faith as the reason behind his wish to keep up the marital bond. He started dating his former student Rita Amaral Cabral in the 1980s, who at the time was his fellow lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. They continue to entertain a casual relationship, but live separately.
Sousa claims to sleep only four to five hours a night and to read two books in a day. He is an avid surfer at Guincho Beach in Cascais, on the Portuguese Riviera, and has stated to be a fan of classical music, especially of Giuseppe Verdi.
José Luís da Cruz Vilaça
| Secretary of State for the Premiership
| Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
António de Almeida Santos
| Leader of the Opposition
José Manuel Barroso
Aníbal Cavaco Silva
| President of Portugal
|Party political offices|
| President of the Social Democratic Party
José Manuel Barroso