On April 25, 1974 the opposition officer group Movement of the Armed Forces (Movimento das Forças Armadas, MFA) carried out a bloodless coup that led to the overthrow of the regime (“Carnation Revolution”).
According to paradisdachat, a seven-member military junta was formed under General A. S. Ribeiro de Spínola, the aim of which was the creation of a pluralistic democracy and decolonization. Political prisoners were released, the secret state police disbanded, and the establishment of new political parties encouraged. Politicians in exile returned, including M. Soares and A. Barreinrinhas Cunhal. The overseas territories (except Macau) were hastily granted independence in 1974-75.
Under the pro-communist-oriented Prime Minister Vasco dos Santos Gonçalves (* 1921, † 2005; from July 1974) railways and large companies were nationalized and large estates were expropriated. The junta leader Spínola, who had been president since May 1974, therefore resigned at the end of September 1974, and was succeeded by F. da Costa Gomes. In March 1975 an attempted coup by the moderate forces around General Spínola failedwho then went into exile. In response to the attempted coup, a Revolutionary Council was installed as the institutionalized executive body of the actually ruling MFA. Elections for the constituent assembly took place on April 25, 1975, and the constitution came into force exactly one year later. After the danger of a communist takeover of power in the army and state had increased, the moderates prevailed in the Revolutionary Council in September 1975; Gonçalves was deposed, the new head of government was José Baptista Pinheiro de Azevedo (* 1917, † 1983). A coup attempt by extreme left groups in November 1975 failed. In the first elections to the National Assembly in 1976, the Partido Socialista (PS) won; Became prime minister Soares, whose minority government was only able to last until July 1978. President A. dos Santos Ramalho Eanes, elected directly in 1976, appointed a non-partisan government, which was overthrown in September 1978 and followed by two equally short-lived governments. In the early parliamentary elections in December 1979, the socialists suffered a heavy defeat. At the beginning of January 1980, Francisco Sá Carneiro (* 1934, † 1980 in a plane crash), chairman of the Partido Popular Democrático (PPD), became prime minister.
In August 1980, the Statute of Autonomy for Madeira passed by parliament was rejected by the Constitutional Commission and the Revolutionary Council, but that for the Azores came into force. The new elections in October 1980, which were constitutionally necessary despite the 1979 elections, confirmed the governing coalition, and Francisco Pinto Balsemão (* 1937) became Prime Minister. With a constitutional revision of August 12, 1982, the Revolutionary Council was abolished, nationalizations and expropriations were reversed. After the elections in April 1983, the strongest parliamentary force, the PS, formed a coalition with the Partido Social Democrata (PSD; formerly PPD) under the leadership of Soares. On June 12, 1985, the Agreement on Portugal’s accession to the EC was signed. The PSD emerged victorious from the parliamentary elections in October 1985 that became necessary as a result, and with A. Cavaco Silva it provided the prime minister of a (minority) coalition. At the beginning of 1986 Soares was elected President (re-election January 1991). The parliamentary elections after a vote of no confidence (1987) confirmed Cavaco Silva’s policy. With a further constitutional revision (1989) core provisions of the revolutionary constitution of 1976 were deleted. The reprivatisation program was also pursued. On November 14, 1988, Portugal became a member of the WEU. In the parliamentary elections in 1991, the PSD was able to increase its absolute majority to 50.4% of the vote. Parliament approved the Maastricht Treaty in December 1992. In 1995 the PSD had to hand over government responsibility to the PS again, and A. M. Guterres became the prime minister (of a minority government). In the 1996 presidential elections, the socialist J. F. Branco de Sampaio won (confirmed in office in January 2001). Under the socialist government, which again won a majority in the 1999 parliamentary elections, the Portuguese economy continued to flourish (including an extensive privatization program). Achieving the euro criteria in particular was considered a great success for the once backward country, which, however, had to grapple with increasing economic difficulties again in view of a sharply declining world economy since 2000, which, together with political affairs, led to the loss of reputation of the socialist minority cabinet (unsuccessful votes of no confidence in July and September 2000, major government reshuffle in June 2001). Guterres resigned from the party chairmanship (replaced in January 2002 by Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues [* 1949]) and from the office of head of government. The early parliamentary elections on March 17, 2002 were decided by the right-wing liberal PSD with 40.1% of the votes; he formed under his party chairman J. M. Barroso as Prime Minister in April 2002 a coalition government with the PP. The new finance minister Manuela Ferreira Leite (* 1940) struck a strict austerity course to clean up the deficit public finances. The government suspended planned tax breaks and major projects, pushed the privatization of state-owned companies and increased VAT from 17% to 19%. Nevertheless, the reputation of the PSD / PP coalition suffered due to growing economic problems, scandals and a lack of ability to reform. In July 2004 Prime Minister Barroso was appointed EU Commission President; Father Santana Lopes was the new Prime Minister of Portugal.