Portugal is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. Portugal (official name: Portuguese Republic) is a country with a rich history of seafaring and discovery.
President is the chief of state and is elected by a popular vote for a five year term. President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed Prime Minister by the President to serve a four-year term. Prime Minister is the head of the government and holds the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. The cabinet called Council of Ministers is appointed by the President on recommendation of the Prime Minister. There also exits a Council of State that acts as a consultative body to the President.
Portugal has a unicameral legislature. The parliament called Assembly of the Republic has 230 seats, with its members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Prime Minister cannot dissolve the Assembly, however President can dissolve the parliament to call for early elections if he wishes so. The people of Portugal have considerable political rights.
The judiciary in the country is independent, but there is a considerable backlog of pending cases. The main source of the law in the country is constitution of 1976 (revised many times, most recently in 2004). The legal system is based on civil law system. Portugal accepts the compulsory ICJ jurisdiction but with reservations. Portugal being a member of the European Union, the national law in the country needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislation. There are two judicial languages used in the country: Portuguese and Mirandese; having an interpreter is possible.
Portugal is generally ruled by law, but the country still is considered a destination and transit point for trafficked persons. Foreign nationals can normally expect an impartial trial from the country’s judicial system. There is a certain degree of corruption in the country (especially in politics & corporate sector) but still under control.
Major political parties
Politics in Portugal has been dominated mainly by two parties which are: PS (Socialist Party) and PSD (Social Democratic Party). The other parties active in the country are:
- PP (Popular Party) – Christian democrats,
- PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) – a left-wing political party,
-The Greens – an ecologist party.
Major political leaders
President: Anibal CAVACO Silva (since March 2006) - PSD
Prime Minister: Jose SOCRATES (since March 2005) - PS
Next political election dates
Presidential: January 2011
Parliamentary: February 2009