Politics of Portugal
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Politics of Portugal
Benedict (Viktor) Gombocz
Location: Southern Europe, borderingthe North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain Area◦ Total: 92,090 sq km◦ Country comparison to the world: 111◦ Land: 91,470 sq km◦ Water: 620 sq km (note: includes the Azores andMadeira Islands) Area – comparative: Slightly smallerthan Indiana Land boundaries:◦ Total: 1,214 km◦ Border countries: Spain 1,214 km Coastline: 1,793 km
The politics of Portugal function in a structure of a parliamentary representativedemocratic republic, with the PM as head of government, and of a multi-party structure. The head of state is the President of the Republic, who has several important powers,which he frequently exercises. The Council of Ministers exercises executive power. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Assembly of the Republic. Since 1975, the party structure is ruled by the social democratic Socialist Party and theliberal conservative Social Democratic Party. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The national and regional governments are ruled by two political parties: the PS (a SocialDemocratic party that bears resemblance to the British Labour Party or the German SPD) andthe PSD (a conservative party and member of the EPP), who have related base politics in somethemes; both are pro-Europe and advocate the market economy. Other parties with seats in the parliament are the Portuguese Communist Party, the People’sParty, the Left Bloc, and the Green Party. The Communists and the Greens are in coalition as the Unitarian Democratic Coalition. Pedro Passos Coelho is as of 2011 the PM for the liberal conservative Social Democratic Party incoalition with the right-wing conservative People’s Party; a majority in the 132 MPs Parliamentsupport that coalition. With 74 MPs, the Socialist Party (ex-PM José Sócrates’ party) is now the main opposition party. Parties represented to the left of the governing coalition are the Portuguese Communist Party(16 MPs), the Green Party (2 MPs), and the Left Bloc (8 MPs).
Powers of the Executive branch Main office holders The President, elected to a five-year term by direct,widespread suffrage, is also commander-in-chief of thearmed forces. Presidential powers include nominating the PM and Council ofMinisters (in which the President needs to be directed by theassembly election outcomes), discharging the PM, dissolvingthe assembly to call early elections, rejecting legislation(which the assembly can overrule), and calling a state of waror siege. The Council of State, a presidential advisory body, iscomprised of six senior civilian officers, any ex-presidentselected under the constitution of 1976, five members selectedby the assembly, and five chosen by the President. The presidentially nominated PM, who names the Council ofMinisters, leads the government. A new government has to specify the extensive outline of itspolicy in a program and present it to the assembly for acompulsory period of debate. The assembly’s failure to refuse the program by a majority ofdelegates confirms the government in office. Office: President◦ Name: Aníbal Cavaco Silva◦ Party: Social Democratic Party◦ Since: 9 March 2006 Office: Prime Minister◦ Name: Pedro Passos Coelho◦ Party: Social Democratic Party◦ Since: 21 June 2011
The presidency, the PM and Council ofMinisters (the government), the Assemblyof the Republic (the parliament), and thejudiciary are the four major parts of thenational government. The Assembly of the Republic is aunicameral body consisting of up to 230delegates. Elected by universal suffrage in line with astructure of proportional representation,delegates serve terms of office of fouryears, the exception being when thepresident dissolves the assembly and callsfor new elections.
Social Democratic Party (PartidoSocial Democrata) Socialist Party (Partido Socialista) People’s Party (Partido Popular) Communist Party (PartidoComunista Português) Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda) Green Party (Os Verdes)
The court of last appeal is the national Supreme Court. Military, administrative, and fiscal courts are assigned as separate courtcategories. A nine-member Constitutional Court evaluates the constitutionality of legislation.
Portugal is divided into 18 districts (plural- distritos, singular – distrito) and twoself-governing regions (plural - regiõesautónomas, singular - região autónoma):Aveiro, Azores (Açores), Beja, Braga,Bragança, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Évora,Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Madeira,Portalegre, Porto, Santarém, Viana deCastelo, Vila Real, Viseu.
Born in Boliqueime on 15 July 1939. 19th and current President of Portugal; wassworn in on 9 March 2006. Won the Portuguese presidential electionon 22 January 2006; was re-elected on 23January 2011, for a second five-year term. Was also PM of Portugal from 6 November1985-28 October 1995. His ten-year tenure as PM was thelengthiest of any PM since António deOliveira Salazar; was the first PortuguesePM to have obtained a completeparliamentary majority under the currentconstitutional structure (which was createdafter Portugal’s redemocratization after theCarnation Revolution).
Born 24 July 1964 in Coimbra. 118th and current PM of Portugal since21 June 2011. Also the current leader of the SocialDemocratic Party (PSD) since 26 March2010. Was active in political life early on;became the national leader of the PSD’syouth branch. Is a commerce executive by trade; hasled the XIX Governo Constitucional(Portugal’s 19th ConstitutionalGovernment) as head of governmentsince 21 June 2011.
Centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Portugal. Often known by its Portuguese acronym, PSD; on ballot papers, itsacronym appears as PPD/PSD, with the first three letters coming from theparty’s initial name, Democratic People’s Party (Partido PopularDemocrático). Won the June 2011 election; acquired 108/230 seats in the Assembly ofthe Republic. Was founded in 1974, two weeks subsequent to the CarnationRevolution. Allied in conjunction with centre-right parties to found the DemocraticAlliance in 1979; won the legislative election that same year. Formed a grand coalition with the competitor Socialist Party following the1983 legislative election, prior to winning the legislative election in 1985under new party leader Aníbal Cavaco Silva. Cavaco Silva served as PM for ten years, implanting significant economicliberalisation and winning two landslide victors. Lost the 1995 legislative election after Cavaco Silva resigned. Returned to power in 2002 under José Manuel Durão Barroso, but lost the2005 legislative election. Current PM Pedro Passos Coelho, the PSD’s current leader, became itsleader on 26 March 2010; became PM the following year. In spite of its name, it belongs to the centre-right, to the right of theSocialist Party and the left of the People’s Party; its initial politicalposition, after it was founded as the People’s Democratic Party, was leftof centre and social democratic, but it shifted to the right in the 1980s. Member of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Centrist DemocratInternational; previously belonged to the ELDR and the LiberalInternational until 1996. Issues the weekly newspaper Povo Livre (Free People).
Social-democratic political party in Portugal. Founded on 19 April 1973 in the German city of BadMünstereifel, by radicals from Portuguese SocialistAction (Portuguese: Acção Socialista Portuguesa). Its current leader is António José Seguro; its leader until5 June 2011 was ex-PM of Portugal José Sócrates. Lost the June 2011 legislative election; currently holds74/230 seats in the Portuguese Parliament. Is prominent because roughly one third of its membersin the Assembly of the Republic are women. Sócrates stepped down as General Secretary on thenight of 5 June 2011, after the PS’s defeat in the generalelection by a margin higher than anticipated. On 23 July, Seguro was elected the PS’s new leader; won68% of the vote against his opponent, Francisco Assis,who pulled 32%. Member of Socialist International (Internationalaffiliation), Party of European Socialists (Europeanaffiliation), Progressive Alliance of Socialists andDemocrats (EP group), and General Union of Workers(Trade union affiliation); has seven members in the EPwithin the Socialists and Democrats (S & D) Group in theseventh parliament.