Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio is the current Portuguese President of the Republic, elected for a second term in January 14 2000.
Jorge Sampaio was born in Lisbon in September 18 1939. The Sampaio family lived abroad in the United States and England for some years, due to the professional activity of his father, a doctor. He started his political career as college student of the Law School of the University of Lisbon. Jorge Sampaio was involved in the student contestation against the fascist regime and was leader of the Lisboan students union between 1960 and 1961. Following his graduation in 1961, Jorge Sampaio started a notable career as a lawyer, often involved in the defence of many political prisoners.
After the Carnation Revolution of April 25 1974, Jorge Sampaio funded MES (Portuguese acronym for Social Left Movement) but abandoned the political project soon after. In 1978 he joined PS, the Socialist Party, where he remains to present day. His first election as a deputy for Lisbon in the Portuguese National Parliament is in 1979. Between this year and 1984, he is a member of the European Commission for Human Rights, where he develops important work on these topics. Between 1986 and 1987 is president of the parliamentary bench of the Socialist Party. In 1989, he is elected president of this political group, an office held until 1991. Also in 1989, Jorge Sampaio is elected Mayor of the city of Lisbon and re-elected in 1993.
In 1995, Jorge Sampaio announced his wish to run for the presidency of the Republic. He wins the election in the first round against Cavaco Silva, a former prime-minister, and becomes president in January 14 1996. After a non-controversial first mandate, he was re-elected for President in January 14 2000.
His actions as President are focussed on social and cultural affairs. In the international political scene, he gave an important publicity for the independence cause of East Timor.