Manuela Ferreira Leite

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Manuela Ferreira Leite
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President of Social Democratic Party
In office
31 May 2008 – 26 March 2010
Preceded by Luís Filipe Menezes
Succeeded by Pedro Passos Coelho
Minister of Finance
In office
6 April 2002 – 17 July 2004
Prime Minister José Manuel Barroso
Preceded by Guilherme d'Oliveira Martins
Succeeded by Bagão Félix
Minister of Education
In office
7 December 1993 – 28 October 1995
Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Preceded by António Couto dos Santos
Succeeded by Eduardo Marçal Grilo
Member of Parliament
In office
10 October 1995 – 23 October 1999
Constituency Évora district
In office
25 October 1999 – 9 March 2005
Constituency Lisbon district
In office
15 October 2009 – 19 June 2011
Constituency Lisbon district
Personal details
Born (1940-12-03) 3 December 1940 (age 73)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political party Social Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Rui Leite (Divorced)
Children 3
Alma mater Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão

Maria Manuela Dias Ferreira Leite GCCGCIH (born Lisbon, 3 December 1940), commonly known as Manuela Ferreira Leite (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐnuˈɛlɐ fɨˈʁɐjɾɐ ˈlɐjtɨ]), is a Portuguese economist and politician.


She was born in Cerdeira, Arganil. Manuela Ferreira Leite comes from a family of many generations of famous lawyers, but she has chosen to follow finance and economics instead. Her brother José Eugénio Dias Ferreira is a Lisbon lawyer and a political commentator and sports commentator. She is a daughter of Carlos Eugénio Dias Ferreira (b. Lisbon, 18 May 1908), a Licentiate in Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon and a lawyer, and wife Julieta Teixeira de Carvalho, a Licentiate in Engineering from the Instituto Superior Técnico of the Technical University of Lisbon and an engineer, daughter of José Teixeira de Carvalho and wife Etelvina Ferreira de Carvalho. Her paternal grandfather José Eugénio Dias Ferreira (Lisbon, 13 November 1882 – Lisbon, 17 January 1953) was also a lawyer from the University of Coimbra, being a natural son of Minister and Counselor José Dias Ferreira by an unknown mother.

She is a fifth cousin of her non-immediate predecessor Pedro Santana Lopes.


She is a Licentiate in Finances from the ISEG - Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão (formerly known as ISCEF - Instituto Superior de Ciências Económicas e Financeiras), a noted economics and finance school of the Technical University of Lisbon.

Manuela Ferreira Leite has in the past held several positions within the Portuguese government, including Minister of Education during Cavaco Silva's cabinet between 1993 and 1995, and 112th Minister of State and Finances during Durão Barroso cabinets between 6 April 2002 and 2004. In both cases her politics of contention was targeted for its alleged excessiveness. In Education, as so many of her predecessors and successors but with worse opposition and manifestations, she had to deal with the issue of tuitions, which even though of low value remains hard to afford by many college students. In 2006, she was non-executive administrator of the Portuguese Banco Santander Totta.

She was the leader of the Portuguese PSD party until March 26, 2010 (as elected on 31 May 2008).

She is also a Member of the Portuguese Council of State, designated by the President of Portugal.


She was married to Rui Leite, a Licentiate in Economics from the Instituto Superior de Ciências Económicas e Financeiras of the Technical University of Lisbon and an Economist, from whom she is now divorced and has three children:

  • Nuno Dias Ferreira Leite, married at the Church of Campo Grande in Campo Grande, Lisbon), on 6 July 2006 to Mónica da Cruz Rocha Campos
  • João Dias Ferreira Leite
  • Ana Dias Ferreira Leite, married at the Church of Santos in Santos-o-Velho, Lisbon, on 3 December 2005 to João Maria de Gouveia Durão de Quintanilha e Mendonça, born in Lisbon, Alvalade, on 3 November 1978, only son of three children of João Maria de Azevedo de Quintanilha e Mendonça (b. 17 May 1952) and wife Maria Joana Guizado de Gouveia Durão, and had issue:
    • Maria Ferreira Leite de Quintanilha e Mendonça (b. London, Middlesex, 24 April 2006)
    • João Maria Ferreira Leite de Quintanilha e Mendonça (b. London, Middlesex, 30 May 2008)

Electoral history[edit]

PSD leadership election, 2008[edit]

Ballot: 31 May 2008
Candidate Votes %
Manuela Ferreira Leite
Pedro Passos Coelho
Pedro Santana Lopes
Patinha Antão
Blank Ballots
Invalid Ballots