The historic leader of the Portuguese Socialist Party, widely regarded in Portugal as one of the Founding Fathers of the democratic era unleashed by the 1974 Revolution, died following respiratory complications that left him in a deep coma since late 2016.
During his career, Mário Soares served in the highest offices of the Portuguese political landscape: he was Prime Minister, President of the Republic, and Portuguese MP to the European Parliament.
Following news of his death, the Portuguese Government declared three days of national mourning, starting on Monday 9 January.
Flags throughout the country – including the UK and EU flags at the British Embassy in Lisbon – were flown at half-mast for the duration.
Soares’ State funeral ceremony and burial were held after his body lay in State at the Jerónimos Monastery.
It was the first State funeral held in Portugal since the Carnation Revolution in 1974.
Over 500 people from Portugal and abroad attended the funeral ceremony, among them King Felipe VI of Spain, the Presidents of Brazil, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, the President of the European Parliament, and the Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister.
The civil funeral ceremony started at 1pm and ended with the National Anthem.
Draped in the Portuguese flag, Soares’ coffin was then pulled by horse-drawn carriage along the crowd-lined streets of the city to the Prazeres cemetery, where he was laid to rest alongside his wife, actress Maria Barroso, who died in 2014 at the age of 90.
Born on 7 December 1924 in Lisbon, Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares founded and was the first leader of the Socialist Party.
He was a constant figure in the country’s public life both prior to the 25 April 1974 revolution and in the subsequent 40 years of Portuguese democracy.
He was a political prisoner and later in exile in São Tomé and Príncipe and France during the dictatorship.
Soares returned “on the people’s shoulders” to his country in 1974 to hold the post of Foreign Minister in the first provisional governments.