Biography of Ernesto Augusto de Melo Antunes (1933-1999)

Military and Portuguese politician, born in 1933 and died on 10 August 1999; He/She had a major role in the Carnation Revolution (April 25, 1974) which ended the Portuguese Estado Novo, and as a member of the "group of nine" of the armed forces movement (MFA) did succeed the moderate trend of the revolution. Commander, already since the 1960s was related to opposition to the autocratic Government of Antonio Oliveira de Salazar; He/She was forced to withdraw his candidacy (as a member of the democratic Electoral Commission) in the elections to the National Assembly in 1969.

In the following decade he/she participated in the Organization of the military coup of 1974; formed a Junta of National Salvation led by the movement of the armed forces, which took charge of the Government, it was replaced by the 20 Council and the Assembly of the 200 in the bosom of the MFA, so that the revolution was led by the armed forces. There were some tensions between its different tendencies (Communist, left-wing and moderate). Melo Antunes, a moderate, was one of the main responsibles of the ideology of the MFA: he/she wrote the Business Plan and Social at the end of 1974, in which it did not contemplate or nationalizations or reform agrarian, reserving the State only some products (steel, electric power) control, the supervision of banks and insurance and the right of intervention in key sectors.

However, on March 11-12, 1975, under the III Government Provisional (30/IX/74-26/III/75) Vasco Gonçalves, Communist, was created the Council of the revolution and the Assembly of the MFA instead of previous bodies. Also, was the COPCON (operational command on the continent), for the control of the MFA from the rest of the armed forces; However, was led by the left-wing military and exercised protection over the associations of left (especially in the North of the country).

The communist influence in the MFA was left feeling: during the fourth Government provisionally (26/III-8/VIII/75), also headed by Vasco Gonçalves, the economic plan drawn up by Melo Antunes was rejected. This, now as Foreign Minister in this Government IV, promoted decolonization: Mozambique achieved its independence in June and two others, Cape Verde, and Sao Tome and Principe, in July. The moderate sector of the MFA, called "Group of the nine", released through the "Document of the nine" (August 6, 1975), in which rejecting the socialism of the countries of the East and are defending an open democracy parties, without military control; Finally, as most in the country, managed to displace sectors extreme Socialist and Communist of Saraiva de Carvalho and Vasco Goncalves. Crystallized on November 11, 1975 to replace Ramalho Eanes in the leadership of the State of the army to general Fabiâo, ceased Saraiva de Carvalho of the COPCON and be demoted to Commander; all this meant that the radical left lost control of the army. The moderate win consolidated the following year: on April 2, 1976 was finally approved the Constitution, being called presidential elections for April 25, which won the general Ramalho Eanes.


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