Mário Soares, ex-Prime Minister and President of Portugal, a major figure in the fight for transition from the Estado Novo, or New State, regime to full parliamentary democracy, has died in Lisbon aged ninety-two. He had been on a life-support machine since mid-December.
Born in Lisbon in 1924, Mário Soares took two degrees at Lisbon University, Historical and Filosophical Sciences and then Law. As a lawyer he defended political prisoners, victims of the Estado Novo regime in Portugal, and among his clients were Álvaro Cunhal, historic leader of the Portuguese Communist Party and the family of the murdered candidate for the Presidency, Humberto Delgado who ran against Dr. Oliveira Salazar's Fascist regime.
France is used to terminating large-scale contracts, as that was the case of the Russian-French deal on Mistral helicopter carriers