Jorge Sampaio: President of Portugal (1939-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Jorge Sampaio
President of Portugal

Jorge Sampaio

Jorge Sampaio
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro President of Portugal
A.K.A. Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio
Is Politician Lawyer
From Portugal
Field Law Politics
Gender male
Birth 18 September 1939, Lisbon
Age 83 years
The details (from wikipedia)


Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio, GColTE, GCIH, GColL (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʒɔɾʒ(ɨ) sɐ̃ˈpaju]) (born 18 September 1939) is a Portuguese lawyer and politician who was the 18th President of Portugal from 1996 to 2006.

Early life and political career

Sampaio was born in Lisbon on 18 September 1939. The Sampaio family lived abroad in the United States and the United Kingdom for some years, due to the professional activity of his father Arnaldo de Sampaio (1908–1984), a medical doctor. His mother was Fernanda Bensaúde Branco (1908 – 15 February 2000). His maternal grandmother Sara Bensliman Bensaúde, who died in 1976, was a Sephardi Jew from Morocco of Portuguese origin, and his maternal grandfather Fernando Branco (1880–1940) was a naval officer of the Portuguese Navy and later the Foreign Minister of Portugal; Sampaio himself is agnostic, and does not consider himself a Jew. He started his political career as college student of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. Jorge Sampaio was involved in the student contestation against the fascist regime and was leader of the Lisbon students union between 1960 and 1961. Following his graduation in 1961, Jorge Sampaio started a notable career as a lawyer, often involved in the defence of many political prisoners.

His brother is the teenage-psychiatrist and writer Daniel Sampaio.

He married firstly a medical doctor named Karin Schmidt Dias, daughter of António Jorge Dias (Porto, 31 July 1907 – Lisbon, 5 February 1973) and his German wife, Margot Schmidt. The couple had no issue and later divorced. He married secondly Maria José Rodrigues Ritta (b. Lisbon, 19 December 1941), daughter of José António Ritta and wife Maria José Rodrigues Xavier and sister of Maria Ermelinda and José António, by whom he had two children: Vera Ritta de Sampaio (b. 1977) and André Ritta de Sampaio (b. 1981).

After the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974, Sampaio funded Movimento de Esquerda Socialista (MES) (Portuguese acronym for Socialist Left Movement) but abandoned the political project soon after. In 1978 he joined the Socialist Party, where he has been associated with the party's left wing. He was first elected to Parliament as a deputy for Lisbon in 1979. Between 1979 and 1984, he was a member of the European Commission for Human Rights, where he developed important work on these topics. Between 1986 and 1987 he was president of the parliamentary bench of the Socialist Party. In 1989, he was elected president of this political group, an office he held until 1991. Also in 1989, Jorge Sampaio was elected the 62nd Mayor of Lisbon, a charge he took in 1990, and was re-elected in 1993, remaining in office until 1995.


In 1995, Jorge Sampaio announced his wish to run for the presidency of the Republic. He won the election of 14 January 1996 in the first round against former Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva and became President on 9 March. After a non-controversial first mandate, he was re-elected as President on 14 January 2001.

As President, Sampaio's actions were focused on social and cultural affairs. In the international political scene, he oversaw the transfer of Macao's sovereignty to China in December 1999 and he also gave important publicity to the cause of East Timor's independence. In October 2003, he invited the presidents of Finland, Germany, as well as of soon-to-be EU members Hungary, Latvia and Poland to Arraiolos in order to discuss the consequences of the 2004 enlargement of the European Union and plans for a Constitution for Europe. Such conventions of non-executive presidents of EU member states have become a regular event, and have been dubbed Arraiolos meetings.

It is generally considered that Sampaio's presidency were marked by a firm sense of prudence and moderation, an approach which earned him a remarkably uneventful first term in office. In 2004, however, his refusal to hold early elections following Social Democratic Prime Minister José Manuel Durão Barroso's resignation met with vigorous protest from all left-wing parties and even led to the stepping down of Socialist leader Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues. Sampaio made this decision to ensure political stability at a time when the country was facing economic recession, and he appointed Pedro Santana Lopes as Prime Minister. However, only four months afterwards, on 30 November, Sampaio concluded that the new cabinet was not achieving the desired stability, but quite the opposite, and he therefore dissolved the Parliament, calling new elections for February 2005.

On 24 February 2005, Sampaio called on José Sócrates, as the nation's next prime minister, to form a government.

Sampaio's successor was chosen in the presidential election held on 22 January 2006. Aníbal Cavaco Silva, the man he defeated in 1996, succeeded Sampaio on 9 March 2006.

As a former President, Sampaio is a Member of the Portuguese Council of State. He is also a member of the Club of Madrid, an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries.

Jorge Sampaio is also known for supporting bullfights. Although the Portuguese law does not allow bullfights ending with the death of the bull in the arena, Jorge Sampaio was able to promote an exception to this law for Barrancos in the Alentejo province.

Electoral results

1996 Portuguese presidential election

e • d Summary of 14 January 1996 Portuguese presidential election results
Candidates Supporting parties First round
Votes %
Jorge Sampaio Socialist Party 3,035,056 53.91
Aníbal Cavaco Silva Social Democratic Party, People's Party 2,595,131 46.09
Jerónimo de Sousa[A] Portuguese Communist Party, Ecologist Party "The Greens" left the race
Alberto Matos[B] People's Democratic Union left the race
Total valid 5,630,187 100.00
Blank ballots 69,328 1.20
Invalid ballots 63,463 1.10
Total (turnout 66.29%) 5,762,978
A B Both candidates left the race in favour of Jorge Sampaio.
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições

2001 Portuguese presidential election

e • d Summary of the 14 January 2001 Portuguese presidential election results
Candidates Supporting parties First round
Votes %
Jorge Sampaio Socialist Party 2,401,015 55.55
Ferreira do Amaral Social Democratic Party, People's Party 1,498,948 34.68
António Simões de Abreu Portuguese Communist Party, Ecologist Party "The Greens" 223,196 5.16
Fernando Rosas Left Bloc 129,840 3.00
António Garcia Pereira Workers' Communist Party 68,900 1.59
Total valid 4,321,899 100.00
Blank ballots 82,391 1.85
Invalid ballots 45,510 1.02
Total (turnout 49.71%) 4,449,800
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições

Post-presidential career

Sampaio is a member of the Club de Madrid, an organization of more than 80 former democratic statesmen. The group works to strengthen democratic governance and leadership worldwide by drawing on the experience of its members.

In May 2006, Sampaio was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General as his first Special Envoy for the Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis. In April 2007, current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated him as High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, a position he held till September 2012.

In 2010, he participated in the jury for the Conflict Prevention Prize awarded every year by the Fondation Chirac.

Honours and awards

In 2008, he was awarded the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe. In 2015, he was a recipient of the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize, along with Dr. Helena Ndume, in recognition for his role in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Portugal, the pro bono defence of political prisoners, and for raising awareness of tuberculosis as UN Secretary-General’s first Special Envoy to Stop Tuberculosis.

  • Grand Master of the Order of the Tower and Sword (Portugal)
  • Knight Grand Cross with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
  • Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Estonia)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav ( Norway)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (United Kingdom)
  • Order of the Three Stars (Latvia)
  • Order of the White Eagle (Poland, 1997)
  • Order of the White Double Cross, First Class (Slovakia, 2003)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great (Lithuania)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold (Belgium) (October 2005)
  • Member of Honor of TUIST – Tuna Universitária do Instituto Superior Técnico

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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