LISBON, September 10 (Reuters) – The former president
Portuguese Jorge Sampaio, who ruled the country from 1996 to 2006,
passed away on Friday at the age of 81.

The cause of death of the former socialist statesman has
not made public. He had been hospitalized since August 27
for respiratory problems.

Jorge Sampaio remains in Portuguese political history
like the one who, in November 2004, stepped out of his role quite
largely honorary by deciding to dissolve Parliament and
to call early legislative elections, judging the
social democratic government unable to cope with the crisis

The former lawyer had refused to resign himself to this measure
four months earlier, when the center-right Prime Minister
José Manuel Durao Barroso had resigned to take the
Presidency of the European Commission.

Before assuming the presidency of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio
clandestinely opposed the Salazarist dictatorship,
overthrown by the “Carnation revolution” in 1974, then had
was mayor of Lisbon from 1990 to 1995.