Sunday, February 12, 2012

Aníbal Cavaco Silva

Aníbal António Cavaco Silva, GCC (born 15 July 1939), is the President of Portugal. He won the Portuguese presidential election on 22 January 2006 and was re-elected on 23 January 2011, for a second five-year term. Cavaco Silva was sworn in on 9 March 2006.

He was previously Prime Minister of Portugal from 6 November 1985 to 28 October 1995. His tenure of ten years was the longest of any Prime Minister since Salazar, and he was the first Portuguese Prime Minister to have won an absolute parliamentary majority under the current constitutional system (which was established after the country's redemocratization following the Carnation Revolution).

Early Life and Career
He was born in Boliqueime, Loulé, Algarve, the son of Teodoro Gonçalves Silva (Loulé, Boliqueime, Maritenda, 30 August 1912 - 30 September 2007) and wife (m. Loulé, Boliqueime, 4 March 1935) Maria do Nascimento Cavaco (b. Loulé, Boliqueime, Maritenda, 27 December 1912), Aníbal António Cavaco Silva was an undistinguished student at school. As a 13-year-old, he flunked at the 3rd grade of the Commercial School, and his grandfather put him working on the farm as a punishment. After returning to school, Cavaco went on to become an accomplished student. Cavaco Silva then went to Lisbon enrolling at the Instituto Superior de Ciências Económicas e Financeiras de Lisboa (ISCEF) of the Technical University of Lisbon (UTL) (currently the Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão (ISEG) of the Technical University of Lisbon), and obtained in 1963, with distinction, a degree in economics and finance (he scored a mark of 16 out of 20). While studying in Lisbon, Cavaco Silva was an athlete of CDUL athletics department from 1958 to 1963. In 1964 he married Maria Alves da Silva, a lecturer in Germanic philology at the University of Lisbon, with whom he has two children (Bruno and Patrícia Maria), and took compulsory military service in the then Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique, as an official of military administration in Lourenço Marques (now the city of Maputo). His teaching career began in 1966 as assistant to ISCEF, but two years later Cavaco Silva went to the University of York, in the United Kingdom, where, in 1973, he was awarded a doctorate in economics. His thesis at York was a defense of (then popular) Keynesian economics (Neo-Keynesianism would influence his thought as Prime Minister later and he still self-identifies as a Neo-Keynesian). Returning to Portugal, he took up a post as assistant professor in ISCEF (1974), professor at the Catholic University of Portugal (1975), extraordinary professor at the New University of Lisbon (1979) and finally director of the Office of Studies of the Bank of Portugal.

He only became active in politics after the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974, later that year joining the then PPD, a political party headed by Francisco Sá Carneiro. Cavaco Silva, was appointed Minister of Finance by Prime Minister Francisco Sá Carneiro in 1980. He gained a reputation as an economic liberal, gradually dismantling regulations inhibiting free enterprise. He refused to serve in the Center Bloc coalition of Socialists and Social Democrats (PSD) that governed from 1983 to 1985, and his election to the leadership of the PSD on 2 June 1985, portended the end of the coalition.

Professor Cavaco Silva has published several academic works in economics, including in subfields like monetary policy and monetary unions.

He married at the Church of the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, São Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, on 20 October 1964 Maria Alves da Silva (b. Silves, São Bartolomeu de Messines, 31 October 1938), daughter of Francisco dos Santos Silva and wife Adelina de Jesus Pincho, with whom he has had two children.

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