The history of the Socialist Party (Partido
in Portugal dates back to the late nineteenth century.
PCP, it was persecuted and forced into exile by Salazar.
party was reestablished in 1973 in the Federal Republic of
Germany (West Germany) under the leadership of Mário
had opposed the regime as a young man and had been
his political activities. Soares returned to Portugal a
after the coup of April 25, 1974, and the PS began to
openly as a political party. It had both a moderate and a
militant wing, but the militancy was tempered by the
and politically shrewd Soares.
The PS, as one of the two largest parties in Portugal,
often formed governments. In the revolutionary situation
75, the socialists were looked on as the most viable
opposition to the PCP. The PS therefore received
foreign support, as well as domestic votes, that it might
otherwise have had. It regularly received about 28 to 35
of the vote and was in power from 1976 to 1978 and in a
coalition with the PSD from 1983 to 1985.
In power the PS followed a moderate, centrist program.
Portuguese electorate became more conservative in the
however, the party lost support. In the 1985 election, it
only 20.8 percent of the vote, although this percentage
slightly in the 1987 national elections. The party won the
municipal elections, but despite an impressive improvement
1991 national election when it polled 29.3 percent of the
it still lagged far behind the PSD. Persistent leadership
problems since Soares left the party when he was elected
president in 1986 and inept campaigns were seen as causes
party's secondary position in Portuguese politics. At
disputes between the moderate and Marxist factions were
but the party as a whole had moved far enough to the right
in the 1991 national election the PS had difficulty
distinguishing itself from the PSD on most major issues.
Data as of January 1993