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Constitution of the Portuguese Republic


On the 25th of April 1974 the Armed Forces Movement crowned the long resistance and reflected the deepest feelings of the Portuguese people by overthrowing the fascist regime.

Freeing Portugal from dictatorship, oppression and colonialism represented a revolutionary change and the beginning of an historic turning point for Portuguese society.

The Revolution restored their fundamental rights and freedoms to the people of Portugal. In the exercise of those rights and freedoms, the people's legitimate representatives are gathered to draw up a Constitution that matches the country's aspirations.

The Constituent Assembly affirms the Portuguese people's decision to defend national independence, guarantee citizens' fundamental rights, establish the basic principles of democracy, ensure the primacy of a democratic state based on the rule of law and open up a path towards a socialist society, with respect for the will of the Portuguese people and with a view to the construction of a country that is freer, more just and more fraternal.

Meeting in plenary session on 2 April 1976, the Constituent Assembly does hereby pass and decree the following Constitution of the Portuguese Republic:

Fundamental principles

Article 1

(Portuguese Republic)

Portugal is a sovereign Republic, based on the dignity of the human person and the will of the people and committed to building a free, just and solidary society.

Article 2

(Democratic state based on the rule of law)

The Portuguese Republic is a democratic state based on the rule of law, the sovereignty of the people, plural democratic expression and political organisation, respect for and the guarantee of the effective implementation of the fundamental rights and freedoms, and the separation and interdependence of powers, with a view to achieving economic, social and cultural democracy and deepening participatory democracy.

Article 3

(Sovereignty and legality)

  1. Sovereignty is single and indivisible and lies with the people, who exercise it in the forms provided for in the Constitution.
  2. The state is subject to the Constitution and is based on democratic legality.
  3. The validity of laws and other acts of the state, the autonomous regions, local government and any other public entities is dependent on their conformity with the Constitution.

Article 4

(Portuguese citizenship)

All persons whom the law or an international convention considers to be Portuguese citizens are such citizens.

Article 5


  1. Portugal comprises the territory on the European mainland that is historically defined as Portuguese, and the Azores and Madeira archipelagos.
  2. The law shall define the extent and limit of Portugal's territorial waters, its exclusive economic zone and its rights to the adjacent seabeds.
  3. Without prejudice to the rectification of borders, the state shall not dispose of any part of Portuguese territory or of the sovereign rights that it exercises thereover.

Article 6

(Unitary state)

  1. The state is unitary and the way in which it is organised and functions shall respect the autonomous island system of self-government and the principles of subsidiarity, the autonomy of local authorities and the democratic decentralisation of the Public Administration.
  2. The Azores and Madeira archipelagos are autonomous regions with their own political and administrative statutes and self-government institutions.

Article 7

(International relations)

  1. In its international relations Portugal is governed by the principles of national independence, respect for human rights, the rights of peoples, equality between states, the peaceful settlement of international conflicts, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and cooperation with all other peoples with a view to the emancipation and progress of mankind.
  2. Portugal advocates the abolition of imperialism, colonialism and any other forms of aggression, dominion and exploitation in the relations between peoples, as well as simultaneous and controlled general disarmament, the dissolution of the political-military blocs and the establishment of a collective security system, with a view to the creation of an international order that is capable of ensuring peace and justice in the relations between peoples.
  3. Portugal recognises peoples' rights to self-determination and independence and to development, as well as the right of insurrection against all forms of oppression.
  4. Portugal maintains privileged ties of friendship and cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries.
  5. Portugal is committed to reinforcing the European identity and to strengthening the European states' actions in favour of democracy, peace, economic progress and justice in the relations between peoples.
  6. Subject to reciprocity and with respect for the fundamental principles of a democratic state based on the rule of law and for the principle of subsidiarity, and with a view to the achievement of the economic, social and territorial cohesion of an area of freedom, security and justice and the definition and implementation of a common external, security and defence policy, Portugal may agree to the joint exercise, in cooperation or by the Union's institutions, of the powers needed to construct and deepen the European Union.
  7. With a view to achieving an international justice that promotes respect for the rights of the human person and of peoples, and subject to the provisions governing complementarity and the other terms laid down in the Rome Statute, Portugal may accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

Article 8

(International law)

  1. The norms and principles of general or common international law form an integral part of Portuguese law.
  2. The norms contained in duly ratified or approved international conventions come into force in Portuguese internal law once they have been officially published, and remain so for as long as they are internationally binding on the Portuguese state.
  3. The norms issued by the competent organs of international organisations to which Portugal belongs come directly into force in Portuguese internal law, on condition that this is laid down in the respective constituent treaties.
  4. The provisions of the treaties that govern the European Union and the norms issued by its institutions in the exercise of their respective competences are applicable in Portuguese internal law in accordance with Union law and with respect for the fundamental principles of a democratic state based on the rule of law.

Article 9

(Fundamental tasks of the state)

The fundamental tasks of the state are:

  • a) To guarantee national independence and create the political, economic, social and cultural conditions that promote it;
  • b) To guarantee the fundamental rights and freedoms and respect for the principles of a democratic state based on the rule of law;
  • c) To defend political democracy and safeguard and encourage citizens' democratic participation in the resolution of national problems;
  • d) To promote the people's well-being and quality of life and real equality between the Portuguese, as well as the effective implementation of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights by means of the transformation and modernisation of economic and social structures;
  • e) To protect and enhance the Portuguese people's cultural heritage, defend nature and the environment, preserve natural resources and ensure correct town and country planning;
  • f) To ensure that the Portuguese language is taught and constantly valued, defend its use and promote its international dissemination;
  • g) To promote the harmonious development of the whole of Portuguese territory, with particular regard to the ultraperipheral nature of the Azores and Madeira archipelagos;
  • h) To promote equality between men and women.

Article 10

(Universal suffrage and political parties)

  1. The people exercise political power by means of universal, equal, direct, secret and periodic suffrage, referendum and the other forms provided for in the Constitution.
  2. Political parties exist in order to contribute to the organisation and expression of the will of the people, with respect for the principles of national independence, the unity of the state and political democracy.

Article 11

(National symbols and official language)

  1. The National Flag, which is the symbol of the sovereignty of the Republic and of Portugal's independence, unity and integrity, is that adopted by the Republic formed by the Revolution of the 5th of October 1910.
  2. The national anthem is A Portuguesa.
  3. The official language is Portuguese.