1991 Portuguese presidential election

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1991 Portuguese presidential election

← 1986 13 January 1991 1996 →
Turnout62.2% Decrease 15.8 pp
  Mário Soares (2003) portrait.jpg Basilio Horta na Exponor.jpg
Candidate Mário Soares Basílio Horta
Party PS CDS
Popular vote 3,459,521 696,379
Percentage 70.4% 14.2%

President before election


Elected President


The Portuguese presidential election of 1991 was held on 13 January.

The re-election of the hugely popular Mário Soares was never in doubt, specially after the then-ruling PSD, led by Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva announced its support. Therefore, the election held on 13 January 1991 was a landslide, and no second round was needed.

As the election of a left-wing candidate was assured, other left-wing parties, the Portuguese Communist Party and the People's Democratic Union, presented their own candidates. The communists presented Carlos Carvalhas, who had been Assistant General Secretary of the Party a year before (Álvaro Cunhal was the secretary-general). Carvalhas would later be elected secretary-general, in 1992.

On the right, as the Social Democratic Party supported Soares, the Democratic and Social Centre presented the only right-wing candidate, Basílio Horta.

Mário Soares achieved the majority of the votes in every district of the country, and 302 of the then 305 municipalities. His score was the biggest ever in a presidential election in Portugal.


Any Portuguese citizen over 35 years old has the opportunity to run for president. In order to do so it is necessary to gather between 7500 and 15000 signatures and submit them to the Portuguese Constitutional Court.

According to the Portuguese Constitution, to be elected, a candidate needs a majority of votes. If no candidate gets this majority there will take place a second round between the two most voted candidates.



e • d Summary of the 13 January 1991 Portuguese presidential election results
Candidates Supporting parties First round
Votes %
Mário Soares Socialist Party (and tactically by the Social Democratic Party) 3,459,521 70.35
Basílio Horta Democratic and Social Centre 696,379 14.16
Carlos Carvalhas Portuguese Communist Party, Ecologist Party "The Greens" 635,373 12.92
Carlos Manuel Marques People's Democratic Union 126,581 2.57
Total valid 4,917,854 100.00
Blank ballots 112,877 2.21
Invalid ballots 68,037 1.33
Total (turnout 62.16%) 5,098,768
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições
Vote share 1st Round
Mário Soares
Basílio Horta
Carlos Carvalhas
Carlos Manuel Marques


  • "CNE Resultados". Comissão Nacional de Eleições. Retrieved 17 May 2005.
  • "Centro de Estudos do Pensamento Político". Archived from the original on 2006-08-18. Retrieved 17 May 2005.

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