Mario Soares, former president of Portugal, dies aged 92

FATHER OF DEMOCRACY: Mario Soares at a Lisbon rally in 2014.

PORTUGAL’S ex-president and prime minister Mario Soares, considered the country’s father of democracy, has died aged 92.

He had been taken into a Lisbon hospital on December 13 due to “a general worsening of his health,” said doctors, and had been in a coma before his death was confirmed on Saturday, January 7.

Soares founded Portugal’s Socialist party and was prime minister three times before spending a decade as president, eventually stepping down in 1996.

He played a fundamental role in the ‘Carnation Revolution’ in 1974, a military coup which returned his country to democracy following almost 50 years of rightwing dictatorship.

In 1976 he became the first democratically-elected prime minister since World War II, serving until 1978 before returning in the early 1980s.

A Socialist party statement said: “Today Portugal lost its father of liberty and democracy, the person and face the Portuguese identify most with the regime that was born on 25 April, 1974.”

The Portugese government has declared three days of mourning.

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