Published 18th January, 2011
The original Portuguese Socialist Party was formed in 1875 and played a minor role in the first democratic government from 1910 – 1926. In 1928 – 1974 they were forced underground but were subsequently reformed as the Socialist Party in West Germany in April 1973.
The PS took part in the first coalition government of 1974 and in April 1975 they won 116 of the 250 seats in the Constituent Assembly.
In April 1976 the PS won 107 of the 263 seats with 35% of the vote. From January to July 1978 they formed a coalition with the Democratic Social Centre (CDS) which subsequently became the Popular party.
In 1979 the PS was defeated by the Democratic Alliance, taking just 27% of the vote and 74 of 250 seats.
In 1980 it formed the Republican and Socialist Front with several other parties and fought the October 1980 election as the FRS but took only 74 seats out of 250.
By 1983 there had been a number of internal reforms and the PS won the 25th April election, taking 101 of the 250 seats and 40.4% of the vote. They formed a coalition with the 75 members of the Social Democratic Party (PSD).
In 1985 the coalition government lost a vote of confidence and on 6th October they lost the general election retaining only 57 seats and 23% of the vote. They were excluded from the minority government of their former PSD partners who won 88 seats at that election (an increase of 13 seats to a net loss of 44 seats for the PS).
By July 1987 another election was called and the PS won 60 seats with 22.3% of the vote. By October 1991 the PS had increased their number of seats to 72 with 31.3% of the vote. On 1st October 1995 they were back in power with 112 out of 230 seats and 48.7% of the vote.
In January 1996 PS Presidential candidate Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio with 53.91% of the vote in the first round. His opponent was Aníbal Cavaco Silva of the PSD; CDS/PP.
By October 1999 the PS retained power with half of the 230 Assembly seats and 44.1% of the vote and in 2001 Sampaio was re-elected with 55.8% of the vote
By March 2002 the PS were in decline once more and won only 96 seats with 41.75% of the vote. The Social Democrats took 105 seats. By February 2005 the PS were back and they took 121 seats and 52.61% of the vote.
In 2006 Sampaio was prohibited from standing again because he had completed his two terms as President. The new PS candidate Mário Soares came third with just 14.31% of the vote.
In 2009 the PS retained power but with a loss of 24 seats bringing them down to 97 seats and 42% of the vote.
José Sócrates, the current Prime Minister of Portugal, is the leader of the party.
The Socialist Party is a member of the Socialist International.