List of Prime Ministers of Portugal - History


The origins of present office of Prime Minister of Portugal fall back to the beginning of the Portuguese Monarchy in the 12th century. Typically, a senior official of the King of Portugal prevailed over the others, ensuring the coordination of the administration of the Kingdom as a kind of prime minister. Throughout history, the prominent position fell successively on the Mayor of the Palace (Portuguese Mordomo-Mor), on the Chancellor (Chanceler-Mor), on the King's Private Secretary (Escrivão da Puridade) and on the Secretary of State (Secretário de Estado).

In 1736, three offices of secretary of state were created, with the Secretary of State of the Internal Affairs of the Kingdom (Secretário de Estado dos Negócios Interiores do Reino) occupying a prominent position over the others.

Since the 1820 Liberal Revolution of Porto, liberalism and parliamentarism were installed in the country. In the first liberal period, there were three to six secretaries of state with equal position in the hierarchy, but with the Secretary the Internal Affairs of the Kingdom (usually known by Minister of the Kingdom) continuing to occupy a prominent position. Occasionally there was a Minister Assistant to the Dispatch (Ministro Assistente ao Despacho), a coordinator of all secretaries of state, and with a post similar to that of a prime minister. After a brief absolutistic restoration, the second liberalism started. With the beginning of the Constitutional Monarchy, the office of President of the Council of Ministers (President do Conselho de Ministros) was created. The Presidents of the Council were clearly the heads of government of the Kingdom, holding the executive power that absolutistic monarchs had, but were restricted by the controlling power of a National Congress.

With the advent of the Republic in the 5 October 1910 revolution, the head of government was renamed President of the Ministry (President do Ministério). During this period the heads of government were under the strong power of the parliament and often fell due to parliamentary turmoils and social instability.

With the 28 May 1926 coup d'état, and eventually, after the formation of the Estado Novo quasi-fascist dictatorial regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, the Prime Minister was again named President of the Council of Ministers, and was nominally the most important figure in the country. First Salazar and then Marcello Caetano occupied this post for almost 42 years.

With the Carnation Revolution came the Prime Minister, which replaced the President of the Council.

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