chapter  7
29 Pages

Consolidation of Democracy

WithWalter C. Opello

The victory of the Group of Nine was a major turning point in the evolution of Portugal’s political system. In July 1979 Sa Carneiro announced the formation of an electoral coalition called the Democratic Alliance (AD). The government of Pinheiro de Azevedo, backed by the Group of Nine, steered a middle course toward a Western European-style democracy. On July 14 Colonel Ramalho Eanes replaced Francisco de Costa Gomes and pledged his presidency to the development of Portuguese democracy. The role of the military as the watchdog of the revolution and the transition to democracy was enshrined in the Council of the Revolution. Although the AD had been successful in achieving its two principal objectives—constitutional revision and the assertion of civilian control of the military—the coalition began to disintegrate because of leadership quarrels inside the Social Democrat party.