Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares, (7 December 1924 – 7 January 2017) was a Portuguese politician who served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1976 to 1978 and from 1983 to 1985, and subsequently as the 17th President of Portugal from 1986 to 1996.
In 1958, Soares was very active in the presidential election supporting General Humberto Delgado. Later, he would become Delgado's family lawyer, when Humberto Delgado was murdered in 1965, in Spain, by agents of the dictatorship's secret police (PIDE). As a lawyer, he defended some of Portuguese political prisoners and participated in numerous trials conducted in the Plenary Court and in the Special Military Court. Represented, particularly, Álvaro Cunhal when he was accused of several political crimes, and along with Adelino da Palma Carlos he also defended the dynastic cause of Maria Pia of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Braganza.
In April 1964, in Geneva, Switzerland, Soares together with Francisco Ramos da Costa and Manuel Tito de Morais created the Acção Socialista Portuguesa (Portuguese Socialist Action). At this point he was already quite distant from his former Communist friends (having quit the Communist Party in 1951); his views were now clearly inclined towards economic liberalism.
In March 1968, Soares was arrested again by PIDE, and a military tribunal sentenced him to banishment in the colony of São Tomé and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea. His wife and two children, Isabel and João, accompanied him. However, they returned to Lisbon eight months later for in the meantime dictator Salazar had been replaced by Marcello Caetano. The new dictator wanted to present a more democratic face to the world, so many political prisoners, Soares among them, were released and allowed exile in France.
In the October 1969 general election, which was rigged, the democratic opposition (whose political rights were severely restricted) entered with two different lists. Soares participated actively in the campaign supporting the Coligação Eleitoral de Unidade Democrática or CEUD (Electoral Coalition for Democratic Unity). CEUD was clearly anti-fascist, but they also reaffirmed their opposition to Communism.
In 1970, Soares was exiled to Rome, Italy, but eventually settled in France where he taught at the Universities of Vincennes, Paris and Rennes. In 1973, the 'Portuguese Socialist Action' became the Socialist Party, and Soares was elected Secretary-General. The Socialist party was created under the umbrella of Willy Brandt's SPD in Bad Münstereifel, Germany, on 19 April 1973.