Socialist leader Jose Socrates, set for another four years as Portugal's Prime Minister after weekend elections, has antagonized many -- even inside his own party -- with his determination to reform and modernize Portugal.
But the 52-year-old civil engineer, who once described himself as a ``ferocious animal'' in politics, is unrepentant. During the parliamentary election campaign he vowed to keep breaking the chains holding Portugal back, saying he will not ``waver in implementing reforms, even when they are met with incomprehension, obstacles and opponents.''
The trade unions have complained that his determination to change Portuguese ways has made him deaf to pleas for compromise. Strikes and large street protests by public sector workers punctuated his last four years in power.
Mr. Socrates' critics say his reform policies are more like those of a centre-right party than a Socialist.
He portrays himself as a liberal modernizer, pushing the European Union's reforming Lisbon Treaty during Portugal's presidency of the bloc in 2007 and driving forward his country's technological development. Portugal is in the vanguard of European countries developing clean energy. Mr. Socrates also has stood up to the influential Roman Catholic church. His government legalized abortion in 2007, and Socrates said he would allow gay marriage if he was re-elected.
Mr. Socrates has been dogged by scandals which have taken the shine off his achievements. He has been accused of involvement in an allegedly murky deal to build a shopping mall, of fraudulently obtaining his university degree and of pressuring journalists who have criticized him. None of those accusations has been proven but have they have eroded his popularity and diverted attentions.