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Pedro Santana Lopes

Pedro Santana Lopes
During campaign in 2005
116th Prime Minister of Portugal
Election: 2005
In office
17 July 2004 – 12 March 2005
President Jorge Sampaio
Preceded by José Manuel Barroso
Succeeded by José Sócrates
Mayor of Lisbon
In office
15 March 2005 – 28 October 2005
Preceded by Carmona Rodrigues
Succeeded by Carmona Rodrigues
In office
6 January 2002 – 16 July 2004
Preceded by João Soares
Succeeded by Carmona Rodrigues
President of the Social Democratic Party
In office
29 June 2004 – 22 February 2005
Preceded by José Manuel Barroso
Succeeded by Luís Marques Mendes
Mayor of Figueira da Foz
In office
January 1998 – December 2001
Preceded by Aguiar de Carvalho
Succeeded by António Duarte Silva
Secretary of State of Culture
In office
24 July 1989 – 31 October 1991
Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Preceded by Teresa Gouveia
Succeeded by Manuel Frexes
Secretary of State of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers
In office
6 November 1985 – 17 August 1987
Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Preceded by Fernando Faria de Oliveira
Alfredo Barroso
Succeeded by Luís Marques Mendes
Personal details
Born (1956-06-29) 29 June 1956
Lisbon, Portugal
Political party Social Democratic Party
Children Gonçalo
Education Lyceum Father António Vieira
Alma mater University of Lisbon
Profession Lawyer, professor
Religion Roman Catholicism

Pedro Miguel de Santana Lopes GCC (Portuguese pronunciation: ; born 29 June 1956), a Portuguese lawyer and politician, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 2004 to 2005. He is a former Member of the Portuguese Parliament.


  • Background 1
  • Biography 2
  • Prime minister 3
  • Electoral history 4
    • PSD leadership election, 2008 4.1
  • Bibliography 5
  • Footnotes 6


Santana Lopes was born in Lisbon, Campo Grande, to Aníbal Luís Lopes (b. Lisbon, São Sebastião da Pedreira, 17 February 1933), a company administrator whose maternal grandfather's maternal grandfather was a relative of famous Portuguese Chartist-leaning liberal outlaw and bandit João Brandão,[1] and wife (m. Lisbon, São Sebastião da Pedreira, 27 February 1954) Maria Ivone Risques Pereira de Santana (Lisbon, São Sebastião da Pedreira, 3 May 1931 – Lisbon, 23 March 1999), a half-great-great-great-niece of the 2nd Baron of Brissos.


He graduated as a Licentiate in Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, where he was Leader of the Student Union, becoming a lawyer. He joined the Portuguese Social Democratic Party (PSD) in 1976, and has remained a member ever since. There he started his career as a Deputy to the Assembly of the Republic.

In 1979, he became a legal advisor to Prime Minister Francisco Sá Carneiro, and has identified himself as a follower of his for all his political life.

In 1986, he became Assistant State Secretary to Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva, an office he left the next year to lead to PSD list to the European Parliament, where he remained for two years of his five-year-term.

In 1991, Cavaco Silva appointed him to the government post of Secretary of State for Culture. Leaving office, he successively ran for, and won, 43rd President of Sporting Clube de Portugal (1995–1996),[2] winning the 1994/1995 Taça de Portugal in soccer, Mayor of Figueira da Foz (the only time that he completed a term in office), and Mayor of Lisbon. During this period he also earned a living as a sports and political commentator and founded a weekly newspaper, Semanário. In 1998, he announced his withdrawal from politics following a comical sketch in a private TV channel which presented him and his private life in a very unfavourable light.

After three unsuccessful attempts to become leader of his party, Santana Lopes rose to Vice-President under José Manuel Durão Barroso, who had once called him "a mix of Zandinga (astrologer) and Gabriel Alves (sports commentator)." When Barroso resigned in July 2004 to take up the Presidency of the European Commission, Santana Lopes became the PSD leader and President. As his party was the major partner in the coalition government at the time, he also moved to Prime Minister, suspending his term as Mayor of Lisbon.

Meanwhile he also had a political analysis jaunt with José Sócrates on RTP's Telejornal.

Prime minister

The leadership of Santana Lopes was made difficult by a number of inherited economic and political problems. When his party first took power, the country’s economy was in a poor state, with a rising government-spending deficit, partially because of policies focused on public expenditure by the previous governments (led by António Guterres of the Socialist Party) and the early 2000s recession. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, "Portugal became the first country to breach the EU's 'excessive deficit' rule with a budget deficit of 4.4% of GDP in 2001, well above the 3% of GDP ceiling set by the EU's Stability and Growth Pact."[3] The situation inherited by Santana Lopes was a little better, as the previous government led by Barroso had been able to comply with European Union directives regarding the deficit by selling State assets.

Santana Lopes himself failed to gain a reputation as a competent Prime Minister. His unusual rise to power, as Barroso's successor rather than by election, contributed to these difficulties. Although his appointment was in fact constitutional, he was not a Member of Parliament but only a municipal leader, as the Mayor of Lisbon, and many columnists thus saw him as an illegitimate Prime Minister, a view shared by a large section of the public.

The short career of Santana Lopes as Prime Minister began with some members of government being shuffled between departments on the same afternoon as the government was being inaugurated. His Minister of Defense Paulo Portas looked surprised during the ceremony when he was announced as the Minister for National Defense and Sea Affairs. Portas' look of surprise when the name of his office was announced was broadcast live on television.

Santana Lopes' period in office was also marked by chaos in the allocation of teachers to schools (more than a month after classes officially started, and resulting from alleged incompetence of the IT provider (designated during the previous Government); the problem was swiftly solved by another small provider), and by claims of pressure exerted on the press, including arranging for the replacement of the information director of the public television channel RTP, and pressing private television channel TVI to tone down the criticism of him by a political commentator, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a former leader of his own party, who consequently left the channel.

The government of Santana Lopes received its death sentence on 30 November 2004 when President Parliament election for February 2005, from which a new government would be formed, after Henrique Chaves, a Santana Lopes loyalist, resigned after four days as Minister for Sport, claiming that Santana Lopes lacked "loyalty and truth".

Santana Lopes announced the resignation of the government on 11 December so that his Government would assume just a caretaker role until the election. He went on to lead his party to its worst result in parliamentary elections in Portugal; the election of 20 February 2005 was won by the Socialist Party led by José Sócrates, with whom Santana Lopes had debated every Sunday for one year on the public television station, RTP. Santana Lopes did not follow his coalition partner Paulo Portas and did not resign on election night, instead leaving the party leadership two days later.

Two days after the inauguration of the new government, he returned to complete his term as mayor of Lisbon. However, when his party failed to endorse him as a candidate for the 2005 municipal elections, he resigned his office one month before the vote, to assume his seat in the Parliament, which he immediately suspended to return to.

Electoral history

PSD leadership election, 2008

Ballot: 31 May 2008
Candidate Votes %
Manuela Ferreira Leite
Pedro Passos Coelho
Pedro Santana Lopes
Patinha Antão
Blank Ballots
Invalid Ballots
  • (Source: Official results)


  • Co-author with José Manuel Durão Barroso: Sistema de Governo e Sistema Partidário, Livraria Bertrand, 1980.
  • Os Sistemas de Governos Mistos e o actual Sistema Português, Difel Editorial, 2001.
  • Percepções e Realidade, Alêtheia Editores, 2006.
  • Pecado Original, D. Quixote, 2013


  1. ^ Raízes e Memórias, Associação Portuguesa de Genealogia, Lisboa
  2. ^
  3. ^ , 11 January 2005Economist Intelligence Unit
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