Rio, the ‘tough’ leader who has already defeated three internal opponents

Rui Rio could even become the third longest-lasting leader ahead of the Social Democrats, behind Cavaco Silva and Passos Coelho, as long as he fulfills at least one year of the term for which he was re-elected in November, and which will be confirmed on Sunday , at the magna meeting of Santa Maria da Feira (Aveiro).

Rui Rio was directly elected on January 13, 2018 (confirmed in Congress on February 16), having been re-elected in 2020 and on November 27, 2021, in a term that, predictably, will extend for two years, although he faces elections legislative proposals as early as 30 January.

Cavaco Silva was the leader who spent the longest time at the head of the PSD, for almost ten years, followed by Pedro Passos Coelho, who completed close to eight as president of the Social Democrats, with Durão in third place so far. Barroso, who spent five years as Social Democratic president, between May 1999 and June 2004.

Elected for the first time in January 2018 with 54% of the votes against Santana Lopes and re-elected in 2020 with 53% in an unprecedented second round against Luís Montenegro, Rio, who has already assumed himself as a “background runner” in politics, managed to 64 years a third internal victory, this time against the MEP Paulo Rangel.

After the PSD in its first term only won one of the elections it disputed (the Madeira regional ones), in October 2020 Rio saw the party return to power in the Azores, without winning elections, thanks to a parliamentary agreement with the CDS- PP and PPM and the support of the new Liberal and Chega parties, which deserved internal criticism.

In the January 2021 presidential elections, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was reelected, this time receiving the express support of the PSD and not just a vote recommendation, as had happened five years earlier.

In the local authorities, which Rio has elected since 2018 as the most important challenge for its leadership, the PSD was in second place, but managed to reverse the worst results ever of 2013 and 2017, reducing the distance in number of municipalities to the PS by almost half and conquering chambers like Lisbon, Coimbra, Funchal and Portalegre, results considered “excellent” by him.

Born in Porto on August 6, 1957, Rio gained visibility as president of the Porto City Council for three terms, between 2001 and 2013, but the political journey of the PSD activist had already started much earlier, in Juventude Social Democrata.

Rio was vice president of the National Political Commission of the JSD between 1982 and 1984 and between 1996 and 1997 he was secretary general of the PSD, when the current President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, was president of the party, ending up leaving office in 1997 following disagreements related to the reaffiliation process.

The former mayor of Porto was vice-president of the party with three leaders: from 2002 to 2005, with Durão Barroso and Pedro Santana Lopes, and later, between 2008 and 2010, with Manuela Ferreira Leite.

He studied at Colégio Alemão and graduated in Economics from the University of Porto — having been elected president of the faculty’s Student Association for the first time in 1981 — and maintained a professional career as an economist, arriving at the Portuguese Parliament in 1991 , where he was a deputy for ten years.

After the last legislative sessions, he returned to parliament as a deputy in October 2019 – despite having confessed that the function did not excite him – and even assumed the leadership of the bench for a few months.

Fan of Boavista and practicing various sports in his youth, he stood out in his first stint as a deputy for opposing the so-called ‘totonegócio’, which provided for part of the revenues of totobola to be handed over to football clubs, and for being a face at that time. almost isolated on his bench in favor of voluntary termination of pregnancy.

Married with a daughter, Rio has always had a demure personal life, marked in childhood by the death of his brother. Agnostic, his ‘hobbies’ are car racing, astronomy and drums, an instrument he played when he was part of a band in his youth.

Also read: Congress: Rio speaks today on motion proposing to govern at the center

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