Durão Barroso, José Manuel

(1952- )
   Academic, scholar, and politician who rose to prominence after the Revolution of 25 April 1974. Trained as an academic in the field of political science and law, Durão Barroso received a master's degree in political science at a Swiss university in the 1980s and continued to a doctorate in Portugal. For some years, he taught political science at the University of Geneva. A student of Portuguese government and politics, he entered academic life in Lisbon at various universities, including the Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon, and spent terms abroad as a visiting political science professor at Georgetown University in the United States.
   A leading member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) after 1993, he was minister of foreign affairs in the Cavaco Silva government in the mid-1990s. When Marcello Rebelo de Sousa withdrew from politics in 1999, Durão Barroso was elected in his place as chief of the PSD; he led the party in the October 1999 elections, won by the Socialist Party (PS) under Guterres. The defeat of the PSD in this election, whose final results were closer than predicted, cast a shadow on the leadership position of Durão Barroso, whose brittle style and manner of public speaking aroused controversy. The position of the PSD, however, still retained some strength; the results of the October 1999 elections were disappointing to the PS, which expected to win an overall majority in the Assembly of the Republic. Instead, the PS fell one seat short. The electoral results in seats were PS (115) to PSD (81). As the PS's hold on the electorate weakened during 2001, and the party was defeated in municipal elections in December 2001, the PSD's leader came into his own as party chief.
   In the parliamentary elections of 17 March 2002, the PSD won the largest number of seats, and Durão Barroso was appointed prime minister. To have a majority, he governed in coalition with the Popular Party (PP), formerly known as the Christian Democratic Party (CDS). Durão Barroso reduced government spending, which affected the budgets of local governments and civil service recruitment. These measures, as well as plans to accelerate privatization and introduce labor reforms, resulted in a public-sector worker's strike in November 2002, the first such strike in 10 years. Durão Barroso decided to press ahead with budget-cutting measures and imposed a freeze on the wages of employees earning more than €1,000, which affected more than 50 percent of the workforce.
   In 2004, he became president of the Commission, European Union (EU). He took up the office on 23 November 2004, and Pedro Santana Lopes, then the PSD mayor of Lisbon, became prime minister. Portugal has held the six-month rotating presidency of the EU three times, in 1992, 2000, and 2007.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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