Political News

Foreign dignitaries attend funeral of former Portugal leader

Posted January 10

— Spain's King Felipe VI and Brazilian President Michel Temer were among the dignitaries who attended the state funeral Tuesday for Mario Soares, a former Portuguese leader who steered his country to democracy after a 1974 army coup toppled Portugal's four-decade dictatorship.

Soares was buried at a cemetery in Lisbon after lying in state at the 16th century Jeronimos monastery. The national monument is where he signed a 1985 treaty permitting Portugal's entry to the European Economic Community, later called the European Union.

Soares, 92, died in a hospital Saturday after two weeks in a coma. Portugal is observing three days of national mourning.

Soares was elected Portugal's first post-coup prime minister and later became the country's first civilian president in 60 years. He grew into a global statesman through his work with the Socialist International movement.

Six Portuguese Air Force F-16s flew over the monastery as Soares' coffin was removed.

The funeral procession went through central Lisbon, pausing outside the presidential palace, Parliament and other locations that marked Soares' life.

People lined the route and applauded as the horse-drawn hearse passed. A Portuguese Navy ship anchored in the River Tagus fired a 21-gun salute.

Former French prime minister Lionel Jospin, former Brazilian president Jose Sarney and former Spanish leader Felipe Gonzalez also traveled to Lisbon to pay their respects.

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