Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is the incumbent President of Portugal, a NATO member country. Prior to assuming the office on 9 March 2016, he was President of the Social Democratic Party (1996 – 1999), Minister of Parliamentary Affairs (1982 – 1983) and Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (1981 – 1982).
Early Life and Education
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was born on 12 December 1948 to father Baltasar Rebelo de Sousa and mother Maria das Neves Fernandes Duarte.
Completing high school education in Portugal, Rebelo de Sousa joined the University of Lisbon for further study degrees in law. Later, he became a teacher in the same university.
In July 1972, Rebelo de Sousa tied a marital knot with Ana Cristina Mota Viega. The couple lived together for 8 years and parted their ways in 1980. They had two children. After parting from the first wife, Rebelo de Sousa started dating Rita Maria Lagos do Amaral Cabral. They are not married yet.
Having studied law for undergraduate studies, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa kicked off his professional career as a lawyer. After joining the Popular Democratic Party, he became more inclined towards Portuguese journalism. He helped found Expresso, Sedes and Semanario and draft Portuguese constitution (1976). Besides, he was also a prominent journalist on Portuguese TSF radio. Likewise, Rebelo de Sousa also worked for then PM Francisco Pinto as an Adjoint Minister. After rising to regional prominence, he bade for Mayor of Municipal Chamber of Lisbon in 1989. However, he suffered a defeat in the elections.
Rebelo de Sousa ascended the office of party leadership on 31 March 1996. As Leader of the Social Democratic Party, he coordinated with the Democratic Alliance and the People’s party to emerge as a stronger power in Portuguese politics. However, this strategy was not pleasing to everyone, thus it led to Rebelo de Sousa’s downfall. He left the office on 27 May 1999.
Leaving the party leadership, Rebelo de Sousa moved on to join the Municipal Assembly of Cascais and Celorico de Basto as President. Besides mainstream politics, Rebelo de Sousa was also heavily involved in television journalism, making weekly appearances on political analysis shows produced by RTP. He always was very critical of the incumbent president and many other national and foreign leaders. Upon being asked to calm down such aggressiveness, Rebelo de Sousa found it easier to leave the television station.
Following Rebelo de Sousa’s rapid rise in the Portuguese politics, he ran as an independent for 2016 presidential election. Rebelo de Sousa won the elections and officially succeed predecessor Anibal Cavaco Silva on 9 March 2016. Since taking the office in March, Rebelo de Sousa has been to Vatican City, Spain, and Morocco for official state visits aimed towards strengthening bilateral relations.
- Order of the Republic of Serbia, Serbia, 2017
- Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, France, 2016
- Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, Kingdom of Spain, 2016
- Grand Master of the Honorific Orders of Portugal, 2016
- Collar of the Order of Pius IX, Vatican City, 2016
- Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry, 2005
- Commander of the Order of Saint James of the Sword, 1994
Donald Trump and Rebelo de Sousa
US President Donald Trump and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa talked over the phone in early January. According to the press reports, the two talked about diplomatic ties and Rebelo de Sousa reminded Trump about Portugal being one of the first nations to recognize American independence.