Soares, Portugal's father of democracy dies at 92

Mario Soares headed Portugal's first democratically elected government in 1976. -AP

Ex-Portuguese President Mario Soares, regarded as a father of the country's democracy, has died at the age of 92. Soares was prime minister between 1976 and 1978, in the aftermath of the Carnation Revolution that ended decades of right-wing dictatorship. A Socialist, he returned as PM in the early 1980s and served as president between 1986 and 1996. He had been admitted to hospital in Lisbon last month following a "general worsening of his health", doctors said. He had shown signs of improvement, but later fell into a deep coma from which he never recovered. The hospital, however, has not revealed the exact cause of death.

After flirting briefly with communism at university and then embracing Portugal's democratic movement as a Socialist, Soares was jailed 12 times and then exiled for his political activities during the dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

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