Portugal's new Prime Minister - 25 February, 2005

Jose Socrates, leader of the Socialist Party, is Portugal's new Head of Government

Jose Socrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa joined the Socialist Party in 1981, at 24 years of age. Born in north-eastern Portugal on 6th September 1957, Jose Socrates spent his youth in Covilha in central Portugal, where he entered the party in the lists of the Federal District of Castelo Branco in 1983 and four years later, was elected a Member of Parliament, where he worked in opposition to the Social Democratic government led by Anibal Cavaco Silva.

With the return of the Socialists to power in 1995 under Antonio Guterres, Socrates began his rise in the party and in politics, first as Secretary of State in the Environment Ministry, then as Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and finally, as Minister of the Environment.

Organised and determined, Jose Socrates fulfilled his objectives, setting up an ambitious network of sanitary landfills, completing the Project within the time limit, which was reduced by two years due to the unexpected resignation of Antonio Guterres and the subsequent change of government.

Socrates also launched the POLIS programme (to improve and rehabilitate cities) and was a fundamental element in the organization of the EURO 2004 football championship.

After three years of disastrous government by the PSD/PP alliance (Social Democrats and Conservatives), which saw the unemployment rate double, Socrates has a lot of work to do to unite the country behind his centre-left government.

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Author`s name Olga Savka