Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐɾˈsɛlu ˈnunu ˈdwaɾtɨ ʁɨˈbelu dɨ ˈsozɐ]), ComSE, GCIH (born 12 December 1949) is a Portuguese politician and incumbent President of Portugal since 9 March 2016. Previously he was a government minister and Member of Parliament, a law professor, journalist, political analyst and pundit.
Born in Lisbon, he is the eldest son of Baltasar Rebelo de Sousa and wife Maria das Neves Fernandes Duarte. He is named after his godfather dictator Marcelo Caetano.
Early life and education
Rebelo de Sousa is a university graduate, Doctorate, Professor and Publicist specialized in Administrative Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, where he taught Law.
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.
Leader of the PSD, 1996–1999
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 wouldn't 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 didn't 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 wasn't present, down to the menu (which included vichyssoise); when later Paulo Portas, in revenge, went back on the decision of the coalition established between both their parties—the decision which was made before that dinner—the term vichyssoise – a cold soup – 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.
In other local elections, he also became the President of the Municipal Assembly of Cascais and the President of the Municipal Assembly of Celorico de Basto.
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 is also a Member of the Portuguese Council of State, designated by the President of Portugal.
He was a leading figure on the pro-life side of the 2007 abortion referendum.
President of Portugal, 2016–present
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.
- Grand Master of the Honorific Orders of Portugal (2016 – present).
- Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry (9 June 2005).
- Commander of the Order of Saint James of the Sword (9 June 1994).
- Collar of the Order of Pius IX (Vatican, 7 July 2016)
- Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France, 26 August 2016)
- Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Kingdom of Spain, 25 November 2016).
- ^ "Cidadãos Nacionais Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- ^ "CIDADÃOS NACIONAIS AGRACIADOS COM ORDENS ESTRANGEIRAS". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
On 27 July 1972, in the parish of São Bento do Mato in Évora, Rebelo de Sousa married Ana Cristina da Gama Caeiro da Mota Veiga, born in the parish of Santos-o-Velho in Lisbon, on 4 June 1950, 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, with whom he had two children:
- Nuno da Mota Veiga Rebelo de Sousa (b. São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon, 8 August 1973)
- Sofia da Mota Veiga Rebelo de Sousa (b. São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon, 27 September 1976)
He separated later in 1980, but has never divorced due to his religious belief. He has started dating his former pupil, in the 1980s, who was at the time his fellow lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. They are still dating, but living separately.
He claims to sleep only 4 to 5 hours daily and to read 2 books a day and is an avid surfer at the Guincho Beach in Cascais.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, as President of Portugal, has visited the Vatican, Spain, Mozambique and Morocco. The first visit was to the Vatican City to meet the Pope Francis and the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, a symbolic visit to the first state to recognize Portugal as an independent country.