The 1973 elections saw a rapprochement of socialists and communists; but shortly before the vote the opposition decided to withdraw. At the end of the year, a conspiracy to shift the government further to the right failed. The perpetuation of the colonial war decided Caetano to carry out a restructuring of the leaders of the armed forces – already tried in vain in 1969-70 – and especially to facilitate the promotion of complement officers: this measure precipitated the malaise of the military circles, whose latent opposition, already manifested with the creation of the “movement of captains” and with the publication of a work by the deputy chief of staff general A. de Spínola on the future of the Portugal, manifested itself with an attempted coup on March 16 1974. putsch of April 25, which led to the exile of Caetano and Tomás, the abolition of the single party, the PIDE-DGS and the entire organization of the regime. The inauguration (May 15) to the presidency of the Republic of the gen. Spínola, and of A. da Palma Carlos at the head of a government of independent personalities and representatives of the immediately reconstituted parties, was short-lived: on 15 July a new government was formed, chaired by Colonel V. Gonçalves; Spínola was replaced on 30 September by gen. Costa Gomes and, after an ambiguous putsch attempton 11 March 1975, forced into exile. The contacts with the African liberation movements led to the recognition of the independence of those territories and to the setting of the dates in which Angola and Mozambique would become independent within the year. More than one hundred thousand draft evaders and deserters benefited from the amnesty, while estimates made Portuguese losses in the colonial wars of the last fifteen years rise to 10,000 dead in addition to the wounded and permanently disabled. The radicalization to the left of part of the country and of the cadres of the armed forces – probably influenced by contact with the revolutionary war – intensified the process of nationalization of the economy, affecting banks, insurance companies, heavy industry, etc. On April 25, 1975 the elections for the Constituent Assembly gave the Socialist Party (PSP) of M. Soares 37.8% of the votes; to the Social Democrats (PPD) of Sá-Carneiro 26.3%; to the communists of A. Cunhal 12.5% (Christian democracy had been excluded from the competition together with some extreme left groups). It was immediately seen that the power of the Constituent Assembly would be very limited by the will of the armed forces, now institutionalized in a Movement (MFA), to keep the new democracy under protection. The revolutionary thrusts were accentuated by the Communist Party, the formations on its left and the more radical military. A populist campaign was launched aimed at reclaiming the link between the people and the armed forces; was decreed the union uniqueness and increased control over the media, while occupations of factories and collectivizations in the countryside followed one another. The restrictions placed on the activity of other parties and part of the Church created a climate of civil war in the north of the country; in many Western circles the fear arose that the Portugal would end up separating from NATO; the boycott of Portuguese and foreign economic groups towards the new course was accentuated; the traditional remittances of emigrants diminished and the massive return of settlers from Africa began. In July 1975 the Socialists and Social Democrats withdrew from the government of V. Gonçalves. Following serious disagreements in the MFA, the more moderate Vice Admiral Portugal de Azevedo became Prime Minister on 29 August. Defeat at the top level, the revolutionary tendency expressed itself in military mutinies and street unrest. The government, after being kidnapped by strikers for 36 hours, suspended its activities in November and appealed to the Revolutionary Council to restore order and legality. After a putsch by far left units (November 25, 1975), a purge in the armed forces and relative stabilization followed. For Portugal 2005, please check ehealthfacts.org.
The new Constitution, in force since 25 April 1976, is characterized by a series of progressive statements (decentralized democratic pluralism; gradual socialization of the means of production in view of a classless society; foreign policy in solidarity with the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggle), as well as that due to the presence of the Military Revolution Council as an organ of the state endowed with the power of veto and in possession of legislative powers; the unicameral Parliament is elected every four years, with a proportional system, and the President of the Republic every five years, by universal suffrage. The elections for the first parliament, held on April 25, confirmed the relative majority of the socialists; in third place, after the Socialists and Social Democrats and before the Communists, is the Centro Democrático Social, center-right party. General A. Santos Ramalho Eanes, who appointed the head of the party with a relative majority, the socialist M. Soares, succeeded in the presidential elections in June. The administrative elections of December 1976 confirmed the existing political framework, and encouraged the attempt by the forces of the moderate left to normalize the country after the confused radicalization of 1975. The resumption of production, the reorganization of the countryside and the inclusion of emigrants who have returned from Africa and Europe were more urgent problems, while the financial deficit was supplemented by loans from the USA, EEC and various international organizations. The single-party socialist minority ministry, ruling on the abstention of the other parties, was in office until December 1977, when a crisis caused by the PPD has opened; the next two-tone (Socialists and Catholics), led by Soares himself, gave way in July 1978 in the face of a renewed attack from the right. President Eanes has promoted non-partisan solutions, entrusting the government first to engineer A. Nobre da Costa, overthrown by the Assembly’s vote of no confidence, and then to CA Mota Pinto, a former Social Democrat who was instead accepted by Parliament (25 October 1978), until the crisis of spring 1979 which forced Mota Pinto to resign (7 June). After a brief government of M. de Lourdes Pintassilgo, in the autumn Eanes dissolved the Parliament and called new elections, which were won by the center-right Democratic Alliance, headed by F. Sá-Carneiro.