Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

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Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa em fevereiro de 2018.jpg
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, 2018
President of Portugal
Assumed office
9 March 2016
Prime MinisterAntónio Costa
Preceded byAníbal Cavaco Silva
President of the Social Democratic Party
In office
29 March 1996 – 1 May 1999
Preceded byFernando Nogueira
Succeeded byJosé Manuel Barroso
Leader of the Opposition
In office
29 March 1996 – 1 May 1999
Prime MinisterAntónio Guterres
Preceded byFernando Nogueira
Succeeded byJosé Manuel Barroso
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
In office
12 June 1982 – 9 June 1983
Prime MinisterFrancisco Pinto Balsemão
Preceded byFernando Amaral
Succeeded byAntónio de Almeida Santos
Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers
In office
4 September 1981 – 13 June 1982
Prime MinisterFrancisco Pinto Balsemão
Preceded byJosé Luís da Cruz Vilaça
Succeeded byLeonor Beleza
Personal details
Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa

(1948-12-12) 12 December 1948 (age 73)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political partyIndependent (2016–present)
Social Democratic Party (1975–2016)
Ana Cristina Motta Veiga
(m. 1972; sep. 1980)
RelativesBaltasar Rebelo de Sousa (father)
ResidenceBelém Palace (official)
Cascais (private)

Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa GColTE ComSE GCIH (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐɾˈsɛlu ˈnunu ˈdwaɾtɨ ʁɨˈbelu dɨ ˈsozɐ]; born 12 December 1948) is a Portuguese politician and academic. He is the 20th and current president of Portugal, since 9 March 2016.[1] A member of the Social Democratic Party, though he suspended his party membership for the duration of his presidency,[2] Rebelo de Sousa has served as a government minister, parliamentarian in the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, legal scholar, journalist, political analyst, law professor and pundit gaining him nationwide recognition prior to his election.

Early life[edit]

Born in Lisbon, he is the eldest son of Baltasar Rebelo de Sousa (1921–2001) and his wife Maria das Neves Fernandes Duarte (1921–2003). He has said that his mother had Jewish ancestry.[3] He is named after his godfather, Marcelo Caetano, the last prime minister of the Estado Novo regime.

Rebelo de Sousa is a professor and publicist specialized in constitutional law and administrative law, earning his doctorate at University of Lisbon, where he taught law.[4]

Party politics and academic career[edit]

Rebelo de Sousa started his career during the Estado Novo as a lawyer, and later as a journalist. He joined the Popular Democratic Party, becoming a Deputy to the Assembly of the Republic. During that time, he helped draft Portugal's constitution in 1976.[5] Later he rose to Adjoint Minister of Prime Minister Francisco Pinto Balsemão. Together with him he was a co-founder, Director and Administrator of the Expresso newspaper, owned by Pinto Balsemão. He was also the founder of Sedes and the founder and President of the Administration Council of another newspaper, Semanário. He started as a political analyst and pundit on the radio broadcaster TSF with his Exams, in which he gave marks (0 to 20) to the main political players.

In 1989 he ran for President of the Municipal Chamber of Lisbon (Mayor of Lisbon) but lost to Jorge Sampaio, though he did win a seat as City Councilor (Vereador). In that campaign he took a plunge into the waters of the Tagus River to prove they were not polluted despite claims to the contrary. In other local elections, he also became the President of the Municipal Assembly of Cascais (1979–1982) and the President of the Municipal Assembly of Celorico de Basto (1997–2009).

Leader of the PSD, 1996–1999[edit]

Rebelo de Sousa was leader of the Social Democratic Party from 29 March 1996 to 27 May 1999. He created a center-right coalition, the Democratic Alliance, with the People's Party in 1998. He became, however, the Vice-President of the European People's Party–European Democrats. The coalition did not please large parts of its own party, due to the role the People's Party leader, Paulo Portas, had in undermining Aníbal Cavaco Silva's government while director of the weekly O Independente.


He had a weekly program of political analysis every Sunday on public TV station RTP after previously having a similar program on the private TV station TVI. President Jorge Sampaio dissolved the Assembly of the Republic, a move that also meant dismissing the Government at a time when it had a stable coalition majority, and calling for anticipated elections, which led to the defeat of Santana Lopes and the election of the Socialists under José Sócrates.

President-elect Rebelo de Sousa delivering his victory speech on election night, 24 January 2016

In 2010, he left RTP and returned to TVI to do the same program that he had before.

He was made a Member of the Council of State, by President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, and was sworn in on 6 April 2006.[6]

He was a leading figure on the pro-life side of the 2007 abortion referendum. He even founded a website titled "Assim Não" (Not like this), which was divulged with a famous introductory video.[7] It became so well known that it was parodied in Saturday Night Live-fashion by famous humour group Gato Fedorento.[8]

President of Portugal, 2016–present[edit]

On 24 January 2016, Rebelo de Sousa was elected as President of Portugal in the first round of voting. He stood as an independent, appealing for moderation and cross-party consensus.[9] During his election campaign, he promised to repair political divisions and the hardship of Portugal's 2011–14 bailout. Unlike his predecessor, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, he had never previously held a top state position.[10]

In March 2020, Rebelo de Sousa asked parliament to authorize a state of emergency to contain the COVID-19 pandemic; this marked the first time the country declared a state of emergency nationwide in 46 years of democratic history.[11]

In December 2020, Rebelo de Sousa announced his intention to run for office again in the 2021 Portuguese presidential election.[12] Marcelo was re-elected president in January 2021, with 60.7% of the votes, the third highest vote margin ever in presidential elections in Portugal since the Carnation Revolution. He was also the first candidate ever to win the vote in all municipalities. Ranging from 51.3% in the Beja District and 72.16% in Madeira.[13]

State visits[edit]

First state visit as President of Portugal (Vatican, March 2016)
Rebelo de Sousa with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, in the Kremlin in Moscow, 20 June 2018
Rebelo de Sousa with Donald Trump, the President of the United States, in the White House in Washington, D.C., 27 June 2018

Rebelo de Sousa, as President of Portugal, has visited the Vatican, Spain, Mozambique, Morocco, Brazil, Switzerland, Cuba, United Kingdom, Greece, United States of America and Angola. The first visit was to the Vatican City to meet the Pope Francis and the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] In 2019, he joined President Emmanuel Macron for the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, which honoured European military cooperation and the European Intervention Initiative that year.[21]


On 28 December 2017, Rebelo de Sousa was admitted at Curry Cabral Hospital, in Lisbon, where he was subjected to a surgery to treat an umbilical hernia.[22] The procedure was performed by Eduardo Barroso,[23] a veteran surgeon who is also a close friend of the President since early childhood. After the surgery, Barroso informed the press that all went well and that Marcelo's condition had been known for at least six years, also referring that the surgery was initially due to occur on 4 January 2018. However, on the morning of 28 December, the President felt abdominal pain, and an examination by his official physician, Daniel Matos, revealed that the hernia was incarcerated and required immediate surgery. On 29 December, the Presidency official website published a clinical report, informing that Marcelo was cheerful and recovering well.[24] Rebelo de Sousa was discharged from hospital on 31 December by 12:45 PM, and left the premises by his own foot, while greeted and applauded by some hospital staff and other patients. He lauded the Portuguese National Health Service, considering it an important conquest of democracy.[25]

On 23 June 2018, Rebelo de Sousa felt indisposed and collapsed after a visit to Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary in Braga, in a day where temperatures were close to 40 °C. He was transported to the hospital where, after several exams, it was revealed the incident was caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure alongside an acute gastroenteritis.[26] He was discharged from hospital later on the same day and was told to rest for some days.[27]

On 8 March 2020, Rebelo de Sousa suspended all his public agenda and returned to his private home in Cascais, entering a voluntary quarantine period for 14 days after being revealed that a group of students from Felgueiras, who had visited Belém Palace some days before, had also been quarantined after a positive case of COVID-19 was detected in their school.[28] On the next day, Marcelo was tested for the virus and returned a negative result; he himself showed up on a balcony of his home to announce the result to the reporters waiting on the outside.[29] Despite the quarantine, he didn't suspend his functions and continued working from home. A second test for the virus was made on 17 March, also returning a negative result.[30] He returned to Belém Palace on the next day but maintained social distancing practices, conducting a meeting of the Council of State through videotelephony.[31] Marcelo would only fully resume his public agenda on 23 March 2020, receiving the Minister of Finance, Mário Centeno, for a meeting at Belém Palace.[32] On 7 April 2020, Rebelo de Sousa revealed that he had taken a serological test, which returned a negative result, therefore concluding that he had not been exposed to the virus.[33]

Rebelo de Sousa wearing a protective mask in 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic

On 11 January 2021, Rebelo de Sousa tested positive for COVID-19, after a contact with a positive case in his staff; he was reportedly asymptomatic, and canceled his appointments, opting to remain in self-isolation.[34] The following day, and going against Directorate-General of Health guidelines, the President was submitted to three further "confirmatory tests", run by the National Institute of Health, all yielding negative results.[35] Some physicians publicly remarked that the possibility of a false positive PCR-RT test was "theoretically possible but unlikely",[35] and tentatively attributed the subsequent negative tests to a low viral load.[36] On 13 January, however, the Lisbon and Tagus Valley regional public health authority confirmed that the President was considered to have had a low-risk exposure, and was therefore simply under passive surveillance for two weeks: the President was instructed that he could resume his agenda save for any events in crowded public places.[37]

Personal life[edit]

On 27 July 1972, Rebelo de Sousa married Ana Cristina da Gama Caeiro da Mota Veiga in the parish of São Bento do Mato in Évora. The bride, born on 4 June 1950 in the Santos-o-Velho parish of Lisbon, is the daughter of António da Mota Veiga and Maria Emília da Gama Caeiro and current widow without issue of Jorge Manuel Vassalo Sors Lagrifa (7 May 1948 – 2 February 2005; maternal grandson of Manuel António Vassalo e Silva). In the following years, Sousa and Mota Veiga had two children:

The couple separated in 1980 but never got divorced, with Sousa citing his Roman Catholic faith as the reason behind his wish to keep up the marital bond.[38] He started dating his former student Rita Amaral Cabral in the 1980s, who at the time was his fellow lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. They continue to entertain a casual relationship, but live separately.[39]

Honours and awards[edit]

National orders[edit]

Insignia of Office[edit]

Personal orders[edit]

Foreign orders[edit]


  1. ^ "President says Portugal must respect EU, avoid return to crisis". 9 March 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2018 – via
  2. ^ "Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa suspendeu a militância no PSD". Observador. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  3. ^ Devemos reconhecer e acarinhar a nossa herança judaica, Diário de Notícias Archived 7 March 2020 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Teaching staff, Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon[dead link]
  5. ^ Vince Chadwick (24 January 2016), Portugal elects Rebelo de Sousa as president Politico Europe.
  6. ^ "Presidente deu posse a novos membros do Conselho de Estado". Presidência da República Portuguesa. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  7. ^ Vídeos Perdidos. "As razões do Assim Não (Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa)". Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 25 December 2018 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ RTP. "Assim Não (Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa)". Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 25 December 2018 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ Paul Ames (24 January 2016), 5 takeaways from Portugal’s presidential election Politico Europe.
  10. ^ Axel Bugge (9 March 2016), "President says Portugal must respect EU, avoid return to crisis" Reuters.
  11. ^ Victoria Waldersee, Catarina Demony and Sergio Goncalves (18 March 2020), Portugal's president asks parliament to authorise state of emergency due to coronavirus Reuters.
  12. ^ Catarina Demony (7 December 2020), In a Lisbon bakery, Portugal's president announces run for second term Reuters.
  13. ^ "Presidenciais distrito a distrito: Marcelo ganha em todos, Ventura é "vice" em 12 (mas Ana Gomes fica à frente em Lisboa e no Porto)". Expresso. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Vaticano: Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa em audiência com o Papa Francisco". Agência Ecclesia (in Portuguese). 17 March 2016. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  15. ^ Ribeiro, Nuno (16 March 2016). "Marcelo inicia hoje visita oficial ao Vaticano e Espanha". Público (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Marcelo chegou a Moçambique". TVI (in Portuguese). 3 May 2016. Archived from the original on 6 May 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Em Marrocos, a falar de energia, 'Brexit', Espanha e sanções". Público (in Portuguese). Lusa. 28 June 2016. Archived from the original on 14 October 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa em visita oficial ao Brasil". Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (in Portuguese). Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  19. ^ Lusa, Agência. "Em visita oficial a Londres, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa encontra-se com financeiros e primeira-ministra". Observador (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visits Greece | The Greek Observer". The Greek Observer (in American English). 13 March 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  21. ^ Bate Felix and Caroline Pailliez (14 July 2019), European leaders join Macron for Bastille Day parade Reuters.
  22. ^ "Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa internado em Lisboa para ser operado de urgência". (in Portuguese). Diário de Notícias. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Marcelo operado por Eduardo Barroso". (in Portuguese). SÁBADO. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Boletim Clínico do estado de saúde do Presidente da República". (in Portuguese). Presidência da República. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  25. ^ "Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa já teve alta e foi aplaudido à saída". (in Portuguese). Diário de Notícias. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Marcelo sofre quebra de tensão e desmaia durante visita em Braga". (in Portuguese). Jornal de Notícias. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Nota da Presidência da República". (in Portuguese). Presidência da República. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Marcelo dá o exemplo e entra em quarentena". (in Portuguese). Jornal de Negócios. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Covid-19: Teste a Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa deu negativo". (in Portuguese). SIC Notícias. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  30. ^ "Covid-19: segundo teste a Marcelo deu negativo". (in Portuguese). TSF. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  31. ^ "Marcelo regressa a Belém para assumir responsabilidades com o Governo". (in Portuguese). PÚBLICO. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  32. ^ "Reunião em Belém. Centeno avalia com Marcelo consequências da pandemia covid-19". (in Portuguese). RTP. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  33. ^ "Covid-19: Presidente da República revela que fez teste sorológico e não está imunizado". (in Portuguese). Visão. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Marcelo acusou positivo à covid-19 mas está assintomático" [Marcelo tests positive for COVID-19, but is asymptomatic]. Público (in Portuguese). 11 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  35. ^ a b "Covid-19: Terceiro teste a Marcelo com resultado negativo" [Covid-19: negative result on Marcelo's third test]. Expresso (in Portuguese). 12 January 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  36. ^ "Positivo é positivo: Marcelo está infetado, diz patologista" [Positive is positive: Marcelo has been infected, says pathologist]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). 12 January 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  37. ^ "Presidente da República regressou ao Palácio de Belém" [The President of the Republic has returned to Belém Palace]. Presidency of the Republic (in Portuguese). 13 January 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  38. ^ Valente, Liliana. "Marcelo. O show do comentador acaba em Belém?". Observador (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  39. ^ "Quem é a Mulher Que não quer ser primeira-dama?". Revista Sábado. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
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  41. ^ a b c d "Página Oficial da Presidência da República Portuguesa". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
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  47. ^ "Le onorificenze della Repubblica Italiana". Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  48. ^ HM the King, Portuguese President Hold Tête-à-Tête Talks – website of Ministry of Culture and Communication of the Kingdom of Morocco
  49. ^ "ACUERDO por el que se otorga la Condecoración de la Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca, en grado de Collar, al Excelentísimo Señor Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa, Presidente de la República Portuguesa". Diario Oficial de la Federación (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  50. ^ "Serbian and Portuguese presidents exchange decorations - English - on". Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  51. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF). Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  52. ^ "Real Decreto 223/2018, de 13 de abril, por el que se concede el Collar de la Real y Distinguida Orden Española de Carlos III al Excelentísimo señor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Presidente de la República Portuguesa". Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish) (91): 38968. 14 April 2018. ISSN 0212-033X. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  • Costados Alentejanos, II, António Luís de Torres Cordovil Pestana de Vasconcelos, Edição do Author, Évora 2006, N.º 41

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
José Luís da Cruz Vilaça
Secretary of State of the Presidency of the
Council of Ministers

Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Portugal
Party political offices
Preceded by President of the Social Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Invocation Speaker of the College of Europe
Succeeded by