Portugal - Government

Government

Portugal has been a democratic republic since the ratification of the Constitution of 1976, with Lisbon, the nation's largest city, as its capital. The constitution grants the division, or separation, of powers among legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The four main institutions as described in this constitution are the President of the Republic, the Parliament, known as the Assembleia da República (English: Assembly of the Republic), the Government, headed by a Prime Minister, and the courts.

The President, who is elected to a five-year term, has a supervisory non-executive role: the current President is Aníbal Cavaco Silva. The Parliament is a chamber composed of 230 deputies elected for a four-year term. The government, whose head is the Prime Minister (currently Pedro Passos Coelho), chooses a Council of Ministers, that comprises the Ministers and State Secretaries. The courts are organized into several levels: judicial, administrative, and fiscal branches. The Supreme Courts are institutions of last resort/appeal. A thirteen-member Constitutional Court oversees the constitutionality of the laws.

Portugal operates a multi-party system of competitive legislatures/local administrative governments at the national-, regional- and local-levels. The Legislative Assembly, Regional Assemblies and local municipalities and/or parishes, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party, in addition to the Unitarian Democratic Coalition (Portuguese Communist Party plus Ecologist Party "The Greens"), the Left Bloc and the Democratic and Social Centre – People's Party, which garner between 5 and 15% of the vote regularly.

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