António Arnault

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António Arnault

António Arnault 1979.jpg
Minister of Social Affairs
In office
30 January 1978 – 29 August 1978
PresidentAntónio Ramalho Eanes
Prime MinisterMário Soares
Preceded byArmando Bacelar
Succeeded byAcácio Pereira Magro
Personal details
António Duarte Arnault

(1936-01-28)28 January 1936
Cumieira, Portugal
Died21 May 2018(2018-05-21) (aged 82)
Santo António dos Olivais, Portugal
Political partySocialist Party
Alma materUniversity of Coimbra
Fiction writer

António Duarte Arnault, GOL (28 January 1936 – 21 May 2018) was a Portuguese poet, fiction writer, essayist, lawyer, and politician. He was Minister of Social Affairs in the second Constitutional Portuguese Government, led by Mário Soares. He is considered the "father" of the Portuguese national health service (SNS - Serviço Nacional de Saúde, em Português), having created the first basic health law in Portugal and contributed to universal access to medical care for all Portuguese.

Life before politics[edit]

António Arnault was born in Cumieira, a small town located in Penela Municipality. He graduated in law from University of Coimbra in 1959.

Political career[edit]

In 1973, together with personalities like Mário Soares or Salgado Zenha, he founded Socialist Party, in Bad Münstereifel, Germany. He was a member of the party board until 1983.

In 1975 he was elected to the Constituent Assembly, which had the task of drafting the new Constitution after the Carnation Revolution. He was also elected to the Assembly of the Republic for several times.

In 1978 he was sworn in as Minister of Social Affairs, and despite being in office for only seven months, he founded the Portuguese National Health Service, which created the first universal health system in Portugal.

Although being retired from active politics, António Arnault was still an influential voice in the country.[1]

Other activities[edit]

He was President of the Portuguese Bar Association council in Coimbra District.

He was a freemason, and was Grand Master of Grande Oriente Lusitano between 2002 and 2005.


  1. ^ "António Arnaut lamenta "hipoteca da soberania" nacional favorável aos "causadores da crise"". Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). 6 May 2011.