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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 June, 2005, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Portuguese ex-PM Goncalves dies
Former Portuguese PM General Vasco Goncalves
Goncalves had been out of politics for almost 30 years
General Vasco Goncalves, a leading figure in the Portuguese revolution that ended decades of authoritarian government, has died at the age of 83.

Gen Goncalves was a member of the military committee that seized power in a bloodless coup in 1974.

He was close to the Communists and as prime minister introduced radical reforms, including nationalisations.

But growing unease about his policies led to his eviction by moderate Socialists in late 1975.

No third way

Gen Goncalves was a leader of the Movement of Armed Forces (MFA), a group of left-wing officers that carried out the April 1974 coup known as the Carnation Revolution.

He was prime minister in four of the provisional governments which led the country in the restive months that followed.

As the revolution gathered pace, the general headed the Revolutionary Council, a governing body set up by the MFA in early 1975.

It dismantled Portugal's empire, nationalised banks, insurance companies and many industries, and organised elections.

[Gen Goncalves] was a man of conviction who was prime minister at a troubled time for Portugal
Jose Socrates
Prime Minister

At the time Gen Goncalves was known for telling political rallies: "You are either with the revolution or with reaction. There is no third way."

However the election showed waning support for MFA hardliners and their Communist allies.

The general was forced out of politics in November 1975, when moderates defeated a left-wing coup attempt.

In his condolences, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates described Gen Goncalves as "a man of conviction who was prime minister at a troubled time for Portugal".

Timeline: Portugal
22 Feb 05 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Portugal
11 May 05 |  Country profiles

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