Portugal flag Portugal: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of Portugal

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (since 9 March 2016) - PSD
Prime Minister: António Luis Santos da Costa (since 24 November 2015 - in caretaker status until new elections) - PS
Next Election Dates
Presidential: January 2026
Legislative: January 2026
Current Political Context
Since the latest snap legislative elections in January 2022, Prime Minister António Costa has experienced an unparalleled period of political stability, enabling him to advance reforms without depending on the support of his former coalition partners—the Left Bloc (BE, extreme left) and the Democratic Unitary Coalition (CDU). The Socialist Party (PS, centre-left) holds an absolute majority in Parliament with 117 seats out of 230 (9 more than in 2019). In contrast, the BE (5 seats, -14 compared to 2019) and the CDU (6 seats, -6) suffered significant losses in those elections. On the opposing end of the political spectrum, the primary opposition party remains the PSD (centre-right, 76 seats), with the far-right Chega party emerging as the country's third political force, securing 12 seats.
Nevertheless, Portugal will hold a snap parliamentary election on 10 March 2024, following the abrupt resignation of Costa in early November due to the arrest of two of his close collaborators who were accused of irregularities in the concession of lithium deposits and green hydrogen projects. Costa was also investigated; however, in a matter of days, the threads of the investigation started to unravel as Portuguese prosecutors acknowledged a mix-up in the names of Prime Minister António Costa and Economy Minister António Costa Silva within the transcript of wiretaps.
Main Political Parties

The main political parties in Portugal include:

Executive Power
The President is the Head of State and the commander-in-chief of the army. He or she is elected by universal suffrage for a five year term. After a general election, the leader of the majority party or coalition is usually appointed to be Prime Minister by the President, for a four year term. The Prime Minister is the head of the Government and holds executive power, which includes implementing laws and overseeing the everyday running of the country. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. There is also a Council of State, which acts as an advisory body to the President.
Legislative Power
Portuguese legislative power is unicameral. The parliament, called the Assembly of the Republic, has 230 seats. The members are elected by universal suffrage for a four year term. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of Parliament, often expressed by a vote of confidence. The Prime Minister cannot dissolve the Assembly, but the President can do so and call for an early election. Portuguese citizens enjoy considerable political rights.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
9/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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Latest Update: April 2024