1986 Portuguese presidential election

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1986 Portuguese presidential election

← 1980 26 January 1986 (1st round)
16 February 1986 (2nd round)
1991 →
Turnout75.4% (1st round) Decrease 9.0 pp
78.0% (2nd round) Increase 2.6 pp
  Mário Soares (2003) portrait.jpg Freitas do Amaral, XV Cimeira Ibero-Americana - Salamanca, Espanha.jpg
Candidate Mário Soares Diogo Freitas do Amaral
Party PS CDS
Popular vote 3,010,756 2,872,064
Percentage 51.2% 48.8%

President before election

António Ramalho Eanes

Elected President

Mário Soares

The Portuguese presidential election of 1986 was held on 26 January, the second round took place on 16 February.

This was closest presidential election ever held in Portugal and was won by the Socialist Mário Soares, who initially had no more than 5% at opinion polls.

In first round was easily won by Freitas do Amaral, supported by all the right-wing parties, while Soares defeated the other two left-wing candidates, the former Prime-Minister Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo –the first woman to be a candidate to the Portuguese presidency – and Salgado Zenha (supported by outgoing president António Ramalho Eanes, founder of the short-lived Democratic Renewal Party, and by the Portuguese Communist Party, whose candidate, Ângelo Veloso, left the race some days before the poll). Both these candidates supported Soares in the second round.

Soares did not achieve the majority of the voting in any district, as the left-wing strongholds in the South of Portugal voted for Zenha due to his support by the Communist Party.

As results for the second round were counted, the urban vote, traditionally more left-wing, overcame the early lead of Freitas do Amaral by less than 140,000 votes, and Soares became president on 9 March 1986.

As of 2017, this was the only time a Portuguese presidential election was taken into a second round.


Any Portuguese citizen over 35 years old has the opportunity to run for president. In order to do so it is necessary to gather between 7500 and 15000 signatures and submit them to the Portuguese Constitutional Court.

According to the Portuguese Constitution, to be elected, a candidate needs a majority of votes. If no candidate gets this majority there will take place a second round between the two most voted candidates.


Unsuccessful candidacies[edit]

There were also three candidates rejected by the Portuguese Constitutional Court for not complying with the legal requirements, those were:

  • Carmelinda dos Santos Pereira;
  • Luís Carlos Franco;
  • Álvaro Manuel Nunes;


e • d Summary of the 26 January and 16 February 1986 Portuguese presidential election results
Candidates Supporting parties First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Diogo Freitas do Amaral Democratic and Social Centre, Social Democratic Party 2,629,597 46.31 2,872,064 48.82
Mário Soares Socialist Party 1,443,683 25.43 3,010,756 51.18
Francisco Salgado Zenha Portuguese Communist Party, Democratic Renewal Party 1,185,867 20.88  
Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo Independent 418,961 7.38
Ângelo Veloso[A] Portuguese Communist Party left the race
Total valid 5,677,525 100.00 5,882,820 100.00
Blank ballots 46,334 0.81 33,844 0.57
Invalid ballots 18,292 0.32 20,436 0.34
Total (turnout 75.38% and 77.99%) 5,742,151 5,937,100
A He left the race in favor of Salgado Zenha.
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições
Vote share 1st Round
Diogo Freitas do Amaral
Mário Soares
Francisco Salgado Zenha
Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo
Vote share 2nd Round
Mário Soares
Diogo Freitas do Amaral



  • "CNE Resultados". Comissão Nacional de Eleições. Retrieved 17 May 2005.
  • "Centro de Estudos do Pensamento Político". Archived from the original on 2006-08-18. Retrieved 17 May 2005.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]