Home Foreign News PORTUGAL: FORMER PRESIDENT JORGE SAMPAIO DIES AT 81

PORTUGAL: FORMER PRESIDENT JORGE SAMPAIO DIES AT 81

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By Aishat Momoh. O.

Jorge Sampaio, a former Portuguese president who later worked for the United Nations in numerous capacities, died on Friday at his home in Lisbon, according to his family. He was 81 years old when he died.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa remarked, “Jorge Sampaio left us today, leaving us with a tradition of not only liberty but also equality.”

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To honor Sampaio, the government has set three days of national mourning, beginning on Saturday.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa remarked, “We kneel before the memory of someone who has always been an example.”

Between 1996 through 2006, Sampaio served as President of Portugal. He had cardiac difficulties and was admitted to the hospital at the end of August.

Sampaio was born into a middle-class family in Lisbon in 1939, and began his political career in 1962 while studying law, when he organized university strikes against the dictatorship of Antonio Salazar.

He defended several political prisoners after passing the bar exam.

Sampaio joined the Socialist Party in 1978, four years after the Carnation Revolution abolished the government.

He was elected mayor of Lisbon in 1989, the same year he became the party’s leader.

In the first round of the 1996 presidential election, he easily defeated his opponent from the right, Anibal Cavaco Silva.

He went on to serve for the United Nations, including as a special envoy on tuberculosis, after spending two terms in Congress.

He is survived by two children.

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