Rui Rio

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Rui Rio

EPP Summit, 22 March 2018 (27083908678) (cropped, Rui Rio).jpg
President of the Social Democratic Party
Assumed office
18 February 2018
Preceded byPedro Passos Coelho
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
18 February 2018
Prime MinisterAntónio Costa
Preceded byPedro Passos Coelho
Mayor of Porto
In office
8 January 2002 – 22 October 2013
Preceded byNuno Carvalho
Succeeded byRui Moreira
Secretary-General of the Social Democratic Party
In office
29 March 1996 – 20 June 1997
Preceded byEduardo Azevedo Soares
Succeeded byCarlos Horta e Costa
Personal details
Rui Fernando da Silva Rio

(1957-08-06) 6 August 1957 (age 61)
Porto, Portugal
Political partySocial Democratic
Spouse(s)Lídia Azevedo
EducationColégio Alemão do Porto
Alma materUniversity of Porto

Rui Fernando da Silva Rio, GCIH (born 6 August 1957) is a Portuguese politician[1] and former Mayor of Porto (Presidente da Câmara Municipal). On 13 January 2018, he was elected President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) with 54% of the votes, in which position he acts as the Leader of the Opposition.

Rio studied at the Colégio Alemão do Porto (Porto's German School), and earned his degree in economics at the University of Porto, where he was president of the Student Association, and a member of the Pedagogical Council.

Political career[edit]

Rio began his political career as part of the Juventude Social-Democrata (JSD), the Social Democrats' youth organization. He was Vice President of its National Political Commission from 1982 to 1984. At the same time he was a member of the National Political Commission of the Social Democratic Party, under Pinto Balsemão and later Mota Pinto. He was also deputy to the Assembly of the Republic, elected for the district of Porto, between 1991 and 2001. He was, during this period, the party's spokesman on economic and financial questions. He was also Secretary General of the party during the presidency of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa Between 1996 and 1998 he was Vice President of the Instituto Sá Carneiro and, between 2002 and 2005, Vice President of the Social Democratic Party. From 2003 to 2005 he was President of the Eixo Atlântico do Noroeste Peninsular.

Mayor of Porto, 2001–2013[edit]

In 2001 Rio was elected president of the Municipal chamber of Porto, defeating Fernando Gomes in an upset. He had a troubled first term, marked by splits with the world of the football business in the city of Porto, and strong interventions in the social districts. He was re-elected by an absolute majority in 2005 and 2009. His term ended on 22 October 2013, when the new mayor Rui Moreira took office.

Leader of the PSD, 2018–present[edit]

In 2018, Rio won the race to become leader of the PSD after campaigning to hold the party on a centrist line.[2] He defeated his more conservative rival, former prime minister Pedro Santana Lopes, winning 54 percent of votes from PSD party members.

Ending the animosity that followed 2015’s election and nudging the PSD closer to the center, Rio and Prime Minister António Costa signed an agreement in April 2018 which covered cooperation on a reform intended to give more powers to municipalities, as well as on a 12-year strategy to keep using European Union structural funds for development.[3] Amid criticism at his leadership, Rio won a confidence motion by 75 to 50 votes in the party’s National Council in early 2019, only after a 10-hour debate.[4]

Political positions[edit]

Rio was a critic of austerity and has sought to distance himself from the tough remedies imposed by Passos Coelho in response to the eurozone economic crisis. On social issues, as a centrist, he is to the left of his party as a supporter of abortion, euthanasia and legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes.[5]


Electoral history[edit]

PSD leadership election, 2018[edit]

e • d 
Ballot: 13 January 2018
Candidate Votes %
Rui Rio
Pedro Santana Lopes
Blank Ballots
Invalid Ballots
Source: Official results

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Giannetti, Daniela; Benoit, Kenneth (3 December 2008). Intra-party politics and coalition governments. Taylor & Francis US. pp. 70–. ISBN 978-0-415-46225-9. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  2. ^ Paul Ames (January 14, 2018), Centrist elected to lead Portugal’s opposition party Politico Europe.
  3. ^ Andrei Khalip (April 18, 2018), Portugal government, opposition agree to cooperate after feud Reuters.
  4. ^ Paul Ames (January 18, 2019), Portugal’s opposition woes Politico Europe.
  5. ^ Paul Ames (January 14, 2018), Centrist elected to lead Portugal’s opposition party Politico Europe.
  6. ^ "Cidadãos Nacionais Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Cidadãos Nacionais Agraciados com Ordens Estrangeiras". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved 31 July 2017.

External links[edit]