Constitution of the Portuguese Republic - Part III

PART III

Organisation of political power

TITLE I

General principles

Article 108

(Source and exercise of power)

Political power lies with the people and shall be exercised in accordance with the Constitution.

Article 109

(Citizens' participation in politics)

The direct and active participation in political life by men and women is a condition for and a fundamental instrument in the consolidation of the democratic system, and the law must promote both equality in the exercise of civic and political rights and the absence of gender-based discrimination in access to political office.

Article 110

(Entities that exercise sovereignty)

  1. The President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic, the Government and the Courts are entities that exercise sovereignty.
  2. The formation, composition, competences and modus operandi of the entities that exercise sovereignty are those defined in the Constitution.

Article 111

(Separation and interdependence)

  1. The entities that exercise sovereignty must respect the separation and interdependence laid down in the Constitution.
  2. No entity that exercises sovereignty and no organ of an autonomous region or local government organ may delegate its powers to other entities or organs, save in the cases and under the terms that are expressly provided for in the Constitution and the law.

Article 112

(Normative acts)

  1. Legislative acts comprise laws, executive laws and regional legislative decrees.
  2. Without prejudice to the subordination of executive laws that are published under legislative authorisation and of those that develop the general bases of legal regimes to the corresponding laws, laws and executive laws possess equal force.
  3. Organic laws, laws which must be passed by a two-thirds majority, and laws which, under the Constitution, are normative prerequisites for other laws or must be obeyed by other laws, possess superior legal force.
  4. Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 227(1)(b) and (c), legislative decrees possess a regional scope and address matters set out in the political and administrative statute of the respective autonomous region that not are the exclusive competence of entities that exercise sovereignty.
  5. No law may create other categories of legislative act, or grant other types of act the power to interpret, complete, modify, suspend or repeal any of its precepts in a way that produces external effects.
  6. Government regulations shall take the form of regulatory decrees when so required by the law they regulate, as well as in the case of independent regulations.
  7. Regulations shall make express mention of the laws which they are intended to regulate, or which define the subjective and objective competence to issue them.
  8. The transposition of European Union legal acts into the internal legal order shall take the form of a law, an executive law, or, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (4), a regional legislative decree.

Article 113

(General principles of electoral law)

  1. Direct, secret and periodic suffrage is the general rule for the appointment of the officeholders of the elected entities that exercise sovereignty, elected organs of autonomous regions and elected local government organs.
  2. Without prejudice to the provisions of Articles 15(4) and (5) and 121(2), electoral registration is conducted at the initiative of the citizen and is compulsory and permanent, and there is a single registration system for all elections that are held by direct, universal suffrage.
  3. Election campaigns are governed by the following principles:
    • a) Freedom of propaganda;
    • b) Equal opportunities and treatment for all candidatures;
    • c) The impartiality of public entities towards all candidatures;
    • d) The transparency and scrutiny of electoral accounts.
  4. Citizens are under a duty to cooperate with the electoral administration in the forms laid down by law.
  5. Votes are converted into seats in harmony with the principle of proportional representation.
  6. Any act that dissolves a collegial organ that is based on direct suffrage must also set the date of the new election thereto, which shall take place within the following sixty days and in accordance with the electoral law that is in force at the time of the dissolution, failing which the electoral act shall be legally nugatory.
  7. The competence to judge the correctness and validity of electoral procedural acts pertains to the courts.

Article 114

(Political parties and right of opposition)

  1. Political parties hold seats in entities and organs that are based on universal, direct suffrage in accordance with their proportion of election results.
  2. Minorities are accorded the right of democratic opposition, as laid down in the Constitution and the law.
  3. Political parties that hold seats in the Assembly of the Republic and do not form part of the Government particularly have the right to be regularly and directly informed by the Government about the situation and progress of the main matters of public interest. Political parties that hold seats in Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions or in any other directly elected assemblies have the same right in relation to the corresponding executive, in the event that they do not form part thereof.

Article 115

(Referenda)

  1. Upon a proposal submitted by the Assembly of the Republic or the Government in relation to matters that fall within their respective competences, in the cases provided for and as laid down in the Constitution and the law, the President of the Republic may decide to call upon citizens who are registered to vote in Portuguese territory to directly and bindingly pronounce themselves by referendum.
  2. Referenda may also result from the submission by citizens of an initiative to the Assembly of the Republic. Such initiatives shall be submitted and considered under the terms and within the time limits laid down by law.
  3. Only important issues concerning the national interest which the Assembly of the Republic or the Government must decide by approving an international convention or passing a legislative act may be the object of a referendum.
  4. The following are excluded from the scope of referenda:
    • a) Amendments to the Constitution;
    • b) Questions and acts with a budgetary, tax-related or financial content;
    • c) The matters provided for in Article 161 of the Constitution, without prejudice to the provisions of the following paragraph;
    • d) The matters provided for in Article 164 of the Constitution, except for the provisions of subparagraph (i).
  5. The provisions of the previous paragraph do not prejudice the submission to referendum of important issues concerning the national interest that must be the object of an international convention pursuant to Article 161(i), except when they concern peace or the rectification of borders.
  6. Each referendum shall only address one matter. Questions must be objectively, clearly and precisely formulated, shall solicit yes or no answers, and may not exceed a maximum number to be laid down by law. The law shall also lay down the other terms governing the formulation and effective implementation of referenda.
  7. Referenda may not be called or held between the dates on which general elections for the entities that exercise sovereignty, elections for the self-government organs of the autonomous regions and for local government organs, as well as for Members of the European Parliament, are called and those on which they are held.
  8. The President of the Republic shall submit all draft referenda submitted to him by the Assembly of the Republic or the Government, to compulsory prior review of their constitutionality and legality.
  9. The norms contained in Article 113(1), (2), (3), (4) and (7) are applicable to referenda, mutatis mutandis.
  10. Draft referenda that are refused by the President of the Republic or are negatived by the electorate may not be resubmitted during the same legislative session, save new elections to the Assembly of the Republic, or until the Government resigns or is removed.
  11. Referenda only have binding effect when the number of voters exceeds half the number of registered electors.
  12. Citizens who reside abroad and are properly registered to vote under the provisions of Article 121(2) shall be called upon to take part in referenda that address matters which specifically also concern them.
  13. Referenda may be regional in scope, in accordance with Article 232(2).

Article 116

(Collegial organs)

  1. Except in the cases provided for by law, meetings of assemblies that function as entities that exercise sovereignty, as organs of autonomous regions or as local government organs shall be public.
  2. Collegial entities and organs shall take their decisions in the presence of a majority of the number of members they are prescribed to have by law.
  3. Save in cases provided for by the Constitution, the law or the respective rules of procedure, collegial entities and organs shall take their decisions by a simple majority and abstentions shall not count in the calculation thereof.

Article 117

(Statutes governing political officeholders)

  1. Political officeholders are politically, civilly and criminally liable for their actions and omissions in the exercise of their functions.
  2. The law shall make provision for the duties, responsibilities, liabilities and incompatibilities of political officeholders and the consequences of any breach thereof, together with their rights, privileges and immunities.
  3. The law shall lay down the special crimes for which political officeholders may be held liable, together with the applicable sanctions and the effects thereof, which may include removal from office or loss of seat.

Article 118

(Renewal principle)

  1. No one may exercise any political office with a national, regional or local political scope for life.
  2. The law may place limits on successive renewals of mandates of holders of executive political office.

Article 119

(Publicising of acts)

  1. The following shall be published in the official journal - the Diário da República:
    • a) Constitutional laws;
    • b) International conventions and the respective ratification notices, together with the rest of the notices in relation thereto;
    • c) Laws, executive laws and regional legislative decrees;
    • d) Decrees of the President of the Republic;
    • e) Resolutions of the Assembly of the Republic and of the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions;
    • f) The Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of the Republic, the Council of State and the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions;
    • g) Decisions of the Constitutional Court, and other court decisions to which the law grants generally binding force;
    • h) Regulatory decrees and other decrees and regulations issued by the Government, together with decrees of the Representatives of the Republic to the autonomous regions and regional regulatory decrees;
    • i) The results of elections to or for entities that exercise sovereignty, organs of autonomous regions and local government organs, as well as to the European Parliament, and also the results of national and regional referenda.
  2. Failure to publicise the acts provided for in subparagraphs (a) to (h) of the previous paragraph and of any act with a generic content of entities that exercise sovereignty, organs of autonomous regions and local government organs shall cause them to be without legal effect.
  3. The law shall lay down the forms in which other acts are to be publicised and the consequences of any failure to do so.

TITLE II

President of the Republic

CHAPTER I

Status, role and election

Article 120

(Definition)

The President of the Republic represents the Portuguese Republic, guarantees national independence, the unity of the state and the proper operation of the democratic institutions, and is ex officio Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Article 121

(Election)

  1. The President of the Republic is elected by the universal, direct and secret suffrage of Portuguese citizens who are registered to vote in Portuguese territory and, in accordance with the following paragraph, of Portuguese citizens who reside abroad.
  2. The law shall regulate the right to vote of Portuguese citizens who reside abroad, to which end it must pay due regard to the existence of ties that effectively link them to the Portuguese community.
  3. The right to vote in Portuguese territory shall be exercised in person.

Article 122

(Eligibility for election)

Citizens of Portuguese origin who are registered to vote and have attained the age of thirty-five are eligible for election.

Article 123

(Eligibility for re-election)

  1. Re-election to a third consecutive term of office, or during the five years immediately following the end of a second consecutive term of office, is not permitted.
  2. If the President of the Republic resigns, he may not stand again in the next election, or in any that take place in the five years immediately following his resignation.

Article 124

(Nominations)

  1. Nominations for President of the Republic must be put forward by at least seven thousand five hundred and at most fifteen thousand registered electors.
  2. Nominations must be submitted to the Constitutional Court at least thirty days prior to the date set for the election.
  3. In the case of the death of any candidate, or of any other fact that renders any candidate incapable of exercising the functions of President of the Republic, the election process shall recommence under terms to be defined by law.

Article 125

(Date of election)

  1. The President of the Republic shall be elected during the sixty days prior to the end of his predecessor's term of office, or during the sixty days after the office becomes vacant.
  2. The election may not take place during the ninety days prior to or following the date of elections to the Assembly of the Republic.
  3. In the case provided for in the previous paragraph, the election shall take place during the ten days following the end of the period set out therein, and the term of office of the outgoing President shall automatically be extended for the necessary period.

Article 126

(Electoral system)

  1. The candidate who receives more than half of the validly cast votes shall be elected President of the Republic. Blank ballot papers are considered not to have been validly cast.
  2. If none of the candidates obtains this number of votes, a second ballot shall be held within twenty-one days of the first one.
  3. Only the two candidates who received most votes in the first ballot and have not withdrawn their candidatures shall stand in the second ballot.

Article 127

(Installation and swearing in)

  1. The President elect is installed before the Assembly of the Republic.
  2. His installation takes place on the last day of the outgoing President's term of office, or, in the case of election to a vacant office, on the eighth day following that on which the election results are published.
  3. Upon taking office the President of the Republic elect shall take the following oath:
    • I swear by my honour to faithfully perform the functions in which I am invested and to defend and observe the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and cause it to be observed.

Article 128

(Term of office)

  1. The term of office of President of the Republic is five years and ends upon installation of the new President elect.
  2. In the event that the office falls vacant, the newly elected President of the Republic commences a new term of office.

Article 129

(Absence from Portuguese territory)

  1. The President of the Republic may not absent himself from Portuguese territory without the consent of the Assembly of the Republic or, if the Assembly is not in full session, of its Standing Committee.
  2. Consent is dispensed with in cases in which the President of the Republic is in transit or is on an unofficial visit lasting no more than five days. However, he must notify the Assembly of the Republic of such cases in advance.
  3. Failure to comply with the provisions of paragraph (1) automatically entails loss of office.

Article 130

(Criminal liability)

  1. The President of the Republic answers before the Supreme Court of Justice for crimes committed in the exercise of his functions.
  2. Proceedings may only be initiated by the Assembly of the Republic, upon a motion subscribed by one fifth and a decision passed by a two-thirds majority of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office.
  3. Conviction implies removal from office and disqualification from re-election.
  4. For crimes that are not committed in the exercise of his functions, the President of the Republic answers before the common courts, once his term of office has ended.

Article 131

(Resignation)

  1. The President of the Republic may resign by means of a message addressed to Assembly of the Republic.
  2. The resignation takes effect when the Assembly of the Republic takes note of the message, without prejudice to its subsequent publication in the Diário da República.

Article 132

(Acting President)

  1. While the President of the Republic is temporarily unable to perform his functions, or while the office is vacant and until the new President elect is installed, his functions are performed by the President of the Assembly of the Republic, or, in the event that the latter is unable to do so, by his substitute.
  2. While he exercises the functions of President of the Republic in an acting capacity, the President of the Assembly of the Republic or his substitute's mandate as Member of the Assembly is automatically suspended.
  3. While he is temporarily unable to perform his functions, the President of the Republic retains the rights and privileges inherent to his office.
  4. An acting President of the Republic enjoys all the honours and prerogatives of the office, but his rights are those of the office to which he was elected.

CHAPTER II

Competences

Article 133

(Competences in relation to other entities)

In relation to other entities and organs the President of the Republic has the competences:

  • a) To chair the Council of State;
  • b) In harmony with electoral law, to set the date for elections for President of the Republic, Members of the Assembly of the Republic, Members of the European Parliament and members of the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions;
  • c) To call extraordinary sittings of the Assembly of the Republic;
  • d) To address messages to the Assembly of the Republic and the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions;
  • e) Subject to the provisions of Article 172 and after first consulting both the Council of State and the parties with seats in the Assembly of the Republic, to dissolve that Assembly;
  • f) To appoint the Prime Minister pursuant to Article 187(1);
  • g) To remove the Government in accordance with Article 195(2), and to discharge the Prime Minister from office pursuant to Article 186(4);
  • h) Upon a proposal from the Prime Minister, to appoint members of the Government and discharge them from office;
  • i) When asked to do so by the Prime Minister, to chair the Council of Ministers;
  • j) After first consulting the Council of State and the parties with seats in the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions, and subject to the provisions of Article 172, mutatis mutandis, to dissolve those Legislative Assemblies;
  • l) After first consulting the Government, to appoint the Representatives of the Republic to the autonomous regions and discharge them from office;
  • m) Upon a proposal from the Government, to appoint the President of the Court of Auditors and the Attorney General and discharge them from office;
  • n) To appoint five members of the Council of State and two ordinary members of the Supreme Judicial Council;
  • o) To chair the Supreme National Defence Council;
  • p) Upon a proposal from the Government, to appoint the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and discharge him from office; and, upon a proposal from the Government and after consulting the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, to appoint the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces if any, and the Chiefs of Staff of the three armed services, and discharge them from office.

Article 134

(Personal competences)

In the practice of personal acts the President of the Republic has the competences:

  • a) To exercise the functions of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces;
  • b) To enact laws, executive laws and regulatory decrees and order their publication, and to sign both resolutions of the Assembly of the Republic that approve international agreements and the rest of the Government's decrees;
  • c) To submit important issues of national interest, as laid down in Article 115, and those referred to in Articles 232(2) and 256(3), to referendum;
  • d) To declare a state of siege or a state of emergency, in compliance with the provisions of Articles 19
  • and 138;
  • e) To pronounce on all emergencies that are of serious consequence to the life of the Republic;
  • f) After first consulting the Government, to grant remissions of sentence and commute sentences;
  • g) To ask the Constitutional Court to undertake a prior review of the constitutionality of the norms contained in laws and executive laws and international conventions;
  • h) To ask the Constitutional Court to declare whether legal norms are unconstitutional and verify the existence of unconstitutionalities by omission;
  • i) To confer decorations in accordance with the law, and to exercise the function of Grand Master of Portugal's honorary orders.

Article 135

(Competences in international relations)

In international relations the President of the Republic has the competences:

  • a) To appoint ambassadors and extraordinary envoys upon a proposal from the Government, and to accredit foreign diplomatic representatives;
  • b) Once they have been duly approved, to ratify international treaties;
  • c) Upon a proposal from the Government, after consulting the Council of State and subject to authorisation by the Assembly of the Republic, or, when the Assembly is not sitting and it is not possible to arrange for it to sit immediately, by its Standing Committee, to declare war in the case of effective or imminent aggression and to make peace.

Article 136

(Enactment and veto)

  1. Within a time limit of twenty days counting from the receipt of any decree of the Assembly of the Republic for enactment as a law, or of the publication of the decision in which the Constitutional Court refrains from pronouncing the unconstitutionality of any norm contained therein, the President of the Republic must enact the decree, or exercise the right of veto and send a message setting out the grounds for doing so and requesting that the legislative act be reconsidered.
  2. If the Assembly of the Republic confirms its vote by an absolute majority of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office, the President of the Republic must enact the legislative act within a time limit of eight days counting from its receipt.
  3. However, a majority that is at least equal to two thirds of all Members present and is greater than an absolute majority of all the Members in full exercise of their office is required to confirm decrees that take the form of organic laws, as well as to confirm those concerning the following matters:
    • a) External relations;
    • b) Boundaries between the public, private and cooperative sectors of ownership of the means of production;
    • c) Any regulation of the electoral acts provided for in the Constitution that does not take the form of an organic law.
  4. Within a time limit of forty days counting from the receipt of any Government decree for enactment, or of the publication of the decision in which the Constitutional Court refrains from pronouncing the unconstitutionality of any norm contained therein, the President of the Republic shall enact the decree, or exercise his right of veto and inform the Government in writing of the reasons for doing so.
  5. The President of the Republic shall also exercise the right of veto pursuant to Articles 278 and 279.

Article 137

(Failure to enact or sign)

Failure by the President of the Republic to enact or sign any of the acts provided for in Article 134(b) means that that act is legally nugatory.

Article 138

(Declaration of a state of siege or of a state of emergency)

  1. Declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency requires prior consultation of the Government and authorisation by the Assembly of the Republic, or, if the Assembly is not sitting and it is not possible to arrange for it to sit immediately, by its Standing Committee.
  2. When a declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency is authorised by the Assembly of the Republic's Standing Committee, that declaration will then have to be confirmed by the Plenary as soon as it is possible to arrange for it to sit.

Article 139

(Acts of an acting President of the Republic)

  1. Acting Presidents of the Republic may not undertake any of the acts provided for in Articles 133(e) and (n) and 134(c).
  2. Acting Presidents of the Republic may only undertake any of the acts provided for in Articles 133(b), (c), (f), (m) and (p), 134(a) and 135(a) after first consulting the Council of State.

Article 140

(Ministerial counter-signature)

  1. Acts that the President of the Republic undertakes under the terms of Articles 133(h), (j), (l), (m) or (p), 134(b), (d) or (f) or 135(a), (b) or (c) require counter-signature by the Government.
  2. The absence of the counter-signature renders the act legally nugatory.

CHAPTER III

Council of State

Article 141

(Definition)

The Council of State is the political organ that advises the President of the Republic.

Article 142

(Composition)

The Council of State is chaired by the President of the Republic and is also composed of the following members:

  • a) The President of the Assembly of the Republic;
  • b) The Prime Minister;
  • c) The President of the Constitutional Court;
  • d) The Ombudsman;
  • e) The presidents of the regional governments;
  • f) Former Presidents of the Republic who were elected under the Constitution and were not removed from office;
  • g) Five citizens appointed by the President of the Republic for the period of his term of office;
  • h) Five citizens elected by the Assembly of the Republic in harmony with the principle of proportional representation, for the period that corresponds to the duration of the legislature.

Article 143

(Installation and term of office)

  1. The members of the Council of State are installed by the President of the Republic.
  2. Those members of the Council of State who are provided for in Article 142(a) to (e) shall continue to serve for as long as they remain in the respective offices.
  3. Those members of the Council of State who are provided for in Article 142(g) and (h) shall continue to serve until the installation of those who replace them in the respective offices.

Article 144

(Organisation and modus operandi)

  1. The competence to draw up its own Rules of Procedure pertains to the Council of State.
  2. Council of State meetings are not public.

Article 145

(Competences)

The Council of State has the competences:

  • a) To pronounce on dissolutions of the Assembly of the Republic and the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions;
  • b) To pronounce on the removal of the Government in the case provided for in Article 195(2);
  • c) To pronounce on declarations of war and the making of peace;
  • d) To pronounce on those acts of acting Presidents of the Republic that are referred to in Article 139;
  • e) To pronounce on the other cases provided for in the Constitution, and in general and when asked to do so by the President of the Republic, to advise him in the exercise of his functions.

Article 146

(Issue of opinions)

The Council of State opinions provided for in Article 145(a) to (e) shall be issued at meetings which the President of the Republic calls for that purpose, and shall be made public when the act to which they refer is undertaken.

TITLE III

Assembly of the Republic

CHAPTER I

Status, role and election

Article 147

(Definition)

The Assembly of the Republic is the assembly that represents all Portuguese citizens.

Article 148

(Composition)

The Assembly of the Republic shall have a minimum of one hundred and eighty and a maximum of two hundred and thirty Members, as laid down by electoral law.

Article 149

(Constituencies)

  1. Members of the Assembly of the Republic are elected for constituencies that shall be geographically defined by law. The law may order the creation of plurinominal and uninominal constituencies and lay down the nature and complementarity thereof, in such a way as to ensure that votes are converted into numbers of seats in accordance with the proportional representation system and using d'Hondt's highest average rule.
  2. With the exception of the national constituency when one exists, the number of Members of the Assembly of the Republic for each plurinominal constituency in Portuguese territory shall be proportional to the number of citizens registered to vote therein.

Article 150

(Eligibility)

Save for the restrictions that electoral law lays down in relation to local incompatibilities or the exercise of certain offices, all Portuguese citizens who are registered to vote are eligible for election.

Article 151

(Nominations)

  1. Nominations are submitted by political parties as laid down by law. Parties may submit nominations individually or in coalition, and the lists may include citizens who are not registered members of the respective parties.
  2. No one may be a candidate for more than one constituency of the same nature, with the exception of the national constituency when one exists. No one may appear on more than one list.

Article 152

(Political representation)

  1. The law may not set limits on the conversion of votes into seats by requiring a minimum national percentage of votes cast.
  2. Members of the Assembly of the Republic represent the whole country and not the constituencies for which they are elected.

Article 153

(Beginning and end of term of office)

  1. Without prejudice to the suspension or termination of any individual mandate, terms of office of Members of the Assembly of the Republic begin with the first sitting of the Assembly following elections and end with the first sitting following the subsequent elections.
  2. Electoral law shall regulate the filling of vacancies that arise in the Assembly of the Republic, as well as the temporary substitution of Members on important grounds.

Article 154

(Incompatibilities and disqualifications)

  1. Members of the Assembly of the Republic who are appointed to be members of the Government may not exercise their mandate until the latter functions end, and shall be substituted in accordance with the previous Article.
  2. The law shall lay down any other incompatibilities.
  3. The law shall regulate the cases and circumstances in which Members require the Assembly of the Republic's authorisation in order to be jurors, arbiters, experts or witnesses.

Article 155

(Exercise of the function of Member of the Assembly of the Republic)

  1. Members of the Assembly of the Republic shall exercise their mandates freely and shall be guaranteed the conditions needed to exercise their functions effectively, particularly those needed for the indispensable contact with registered electors and for ensuring that the latter are regularly kept informed.
  2. The law shall regulate the circumstances in which the absence of Members from official acts or proceedings that do not concern the Assembly of the Republic, due to Assembly sittings or missions, constitutes justified grounds for adjourning the said acts or proceedings.
  3. Public entities are under a duty, as laid down by law, to cooperate with Members of the Assembly of the Republic in the exercise of their functions.

Article 156

(Powers of Members of the Assembly of the Republic)

Members of the Assembly of the Republic have the following powers:

  • a) To submit draft revisions of the Constitution;
  • b) To submit Member's bills, draft Rules of Procedure, draft resolutions, particularly in relation to referenda, and draft decisions, and to request that they be scheduled for debate;
  • c) To take part and speak in parliamentary debates, as laid down in the Rules of Procedure;
  • d) To question the Government about any of its acts or those of the Public Administration, and to obtain answers within a reasonable time limit, save for the provisions of the law on matters concerning state secrets;
  • e) To request and obtain the elements, information and official publications they deem useful to the exercise of their mandate from the Government or the organs of any public entity;
  • f) To move the formation of parliamentary committees of inquiry;
  • g) Those set out in the Rules of Procedure.

Article 157

(Immunities)

  1. Members of the Assembly of the Republic are not civilly or criminally liable for or subject to disciplinary proceedings in relation to their votes or the opinions they express in the exercise of their functions.
  2. Members of the Assembly of the Republic may not appear as makers of declarations or accused persons without the Assembly's authorisation. In the latter case, the Assembly shall obligatorily decide in favour of authorisation when there are strong indications of the commission of a wilful crime punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of more than three years.
  3. No Member of the Assembly of the Republic may be detained, arrested or imprisoned without the Assembly's authorisation, save for a wilful crime punishable by the type of prison term referred to by the previous paragraph and in flagrante delicto.
  4. In the event that criminal proceedings are brought against any Member of the Assembly of the Republic and he is definitively charged, the Assembly shall decide whether or not he must be suspended so that the proceedings can take their course. When the crime is of the type referred to in the previous paragraphs, the Assembly shall obligatorily decide to suspend the Member.

Article 158

(Rights and privileges)

Members of the Assembly of the Republic enjoy the following rights and privileges:

  • a) Deferment of military, civic and civil defence service;
  • b) Free transit and the right to a special passport during official trips abroad;
  • c) A special identity card;
  • d) The allowances stipulated by law.

Article 159

(Duties)

Members of the Assembly of the Republic are under the following duties:

  • a) To attend plenary sittings and the meetings of any committees to which they belong.
  • b) To exercise any offices in the Assembly and any functions to which they are appointed upon proposals by their parliamentary groups;
  • c) To take part in voting.

Article 160

(Loss and resignation of seat)

  1. Members of the Assembly of the Republic shall lose their seat in the event that:
    • a) They become subject to any of the disqualifications or incompatibilities provided for by law;
    • b) They do not take up their seat in the Assembly, or they exceed the number of failures to attend laid down in the Rules of Procedure;
    • c) They register as members of a party other than that for which they stood for election;
    • d) They are convicted by a court of any of the special crimes for which political officeholders may be held liable, which they commit in the exercise of their functions and for which they are sentenced to such loss, or they are convicted of participating in organisations that are racist or display a fascist ideology.
  2. Members of the Assembly of the Republic may resign their seat by means of a written declaration.

CHAPTER II

Competences

Article 161

(Political and legislative competences)

The Assembly of the Republic has the competences:

  • a) To pass amendments to the Constitution in accordance with Articles 284 to 289;
  • b) To pass the political and administrative statutes of the autonomous regions and the laws governing the election of the members of the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions;
  • c) To make laws on all matters, save for those in which the Government has exclusive competence under the Constitution;
  • d) To grant the Government authorisations to legislate;
  • e) To grant the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions the authorisations provided for in Article 227(1)(b) of the Constitution;
  • f) To grant generic amnesties and pardons;
  • g) Upon the submission of drafts by the Government, to pass the laws on the Major Options of the National Plans and the State Budget;
  • h) To authorise the Government to contract and grant loans and engage in other lending operations, apart from floating debt operations; to define the general terms and conditions governing such loans and lending operations; and to set the maximum limit for guarantees to be given by the Government each year;
  • i) To approve treaties, particularly those that concern Portugal's participation in international organisations, friendship, peace, defence, the rectification of borders or military affairs, as well as international agreements that address matters in which the Assembly has exclusive competence, or which the Government deems fit to submit to the Assembly for consideration;
  • j) To propose to the President of the Republic that important issues of national interest be submitted to referendum;
  • l) To authorise and confirm declarations of a state of siege or a state of emergency;
  • m) To authorise the President of the Republic to declare war or to make peace;
  • n) To pronounce, as laid down by law, on matters awaiting decision by European Union organs that concern the sphere of its exclusive legislative competence;
  • o) To perform the other functions that the Constitution and the law allocate to it.

Article 162

(Competence to scrutinise)

In the exercise of its scrutiny functions the Assembly of the Republic has the competences:

  • a) To scrutinise compliance with the Constitution and the laws and to consider the acts of the Government and the Administration;
  • b) To consider the manner in which a declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency has been applied;
  • c) To consider executive laws, save for those made by exercise of the Government's exclusive legislative competence, and to consider the regional legislative decrees provided for in Article 227(1)(b), in both cases for the purpose of determining whether they should be amended or cease to be in force;
  • d) To receive the accounts of the state and the other public entities stipulated by law, which accounts shall be submitted by 31 December of the following year, together with the opinion of the Court of Auditors and the other elements needed to consider them;
  • e) To consider reports on the execution of National Plans.

Article 163

(Competences in relation to other entities and organs)

In relation to other entities and organs the Assembly of the Republic has the competences:

  • a) To witness the installation of the President of the Republic;
  • b) To consent to the President of the Republic's absence from Portuguese territory;
  • c) To promote the bringing of charges against the President of the Republic for crimes committed in the exercise of his functions, and to decide whether to suspend members of the Government in the case provided for in Article 196;
  • d) To consider the Government's Programme;
  • e) To put motions of confidence or no confidence in the Government to the vote;
  • f) As laid down by law, to monitor and consider Portugal's participation in the process of constructing the European Union;
  • g) To elect, under the proportional representation system, five members of the Council of State and those members of the Supreme Council of the Public Prosecutors' Office whom the Assembly has the competence to appoint;
  • h) By a majority that is at least equal to two thirds of all Members of the Assembly of the Republic present and greater than an absolute majority of all the Members in full exercise of their office, to elect ten Justices of the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman, the President of the Economic and Social Council, seven ordinary members of the Supreme Judicial Council, the members of the media regulatory entity and the members of all other constitutional entities whose appointment is the responsibility of the Assembly of the Republic by law;
  • i) As laid down by law, to supervise the involvement of military contingents and security forces abroad.

Article 164

(Exclusive legislative competence)

The Assembly of the Republic has exclusive competence to legislate on the following matters:

  • a) Elections of the officeholders of the entities that exercise sovereignty;
  • b) The regimes governing referenda;
  • c) The organisation, modus operandi and procedure of the Constitutional Court;
  • d) The organisation of national defence, the definition of the duties derived therefrom and the general bases of the organisation, modus operandi, re-equipping and discipline of the Armed Forces;
  • e) The regimes governing states of siege and states of emergency;
  • f) The acquisition, loss and re-acquisition of Portuguese citizenship;
  • g) The definition of the limits of territorial waters, the exclusive economic zone and Portugal's rights to the adjacent seabeds;
  • h) Political associations and parties;
  • i) The bases of the education system;
  • j) The election of members of the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions;
  • l) The election of officeholders of local government organs and other elections conducted by direct, universal suffrage, as well as elections to the remaining constitutional entities and organs;
  • m) The statutes governing the officeholders of the entities that exercise sovereignty and of local government organs, as well as of the officeholders of the remaining constitutional organs and of those that are elected by direct, universal suffrage;
  • n) Without prejudice to the powers of the autonomous regions, the creation, abolition and modification of local authorities and the regime governing them;
  • o) Restrictions on the exercise of rights by full-time military personnel and militarised agents on active service and by agents of the security services and forces;
  • p) The regime governing the appointment of members of European Union organs, with the exception of the Commission;
  • q) The regime governing the Republic's intelligence system and state secrets;
  • r) The general regime governing the drawing up and organisation of the budgets of the state, the autonomous regions and local authorities;
  • s) The regime governing national symbols;
  • t) The regime governing the finances of the autonomous regions;
  • u) The regime governing the security forces;
  • v) The regime governing the organisational, administrative and financial autonomy of the President of the Republic's support services.

Article 165

(Partially exclusive legislative competence)

  1. Unless it also authorises the Government to do so, the Assembly of the Republic has exclusive competence to legislate on the following matters:
    • a) People's legal status and capacity;
    • b) Rights, freedoms and guarantees;
    • c) The definition of crimes, sentences, security measures and the preconditions therefore, and criminal procedure;
    • d) The general regime governing the punishment of disciplinary infractions, and of administrative offences and the respective procedure;
    • e) The general regime governing requisitions and expropriations in the public interest;
    • f) The bases of the social security system and the national health service;
    • g) The bases of the system for protecting nature, the ecological balance and the cultural heritage;
    • h) The general regime governing rural and urban rentals;
    • i) The creation of taxes and the fiscal system, and the general regime governing duties and other financial contributions to public entities;
    • j) The definition of the sectors of ownership of the means of production, including that of the basic sectors in which private enterprises and other entities of the same nature are forbidden to do business;
    • l) The means and forms of intervention, expropriation, nationalisation and privatisation of and in relation to means of production and soils in the public interest, together with criteria for setting compensation in such cases;
    • m) The regime governing economic and social development plans and the composition of the Economic and Social Council;
    • n) The bases of the agricultural policy, including the setting of the maximum and minimum limits for farming units;
    • o) The monetary system and the standard for weights and measures;
    • p) The organisation and competences of the courts and the Public Prosecutors' Office and the statute governing the respective judges, as well as the organisation and competences of non-jurisdictional conflict settlement entities;
    • q) The statute governing local authorities, including the regime governing local finances;
    • r) Participation in the exercise of local government by residents' organisations;
    • s) Public associations, guarantees available to users of the Administration, and the Administration's civil liability;
    • t) The bases of the regime governing, and the scope of, the public service;
    • u) The basic general elements of the statute governing public sector enterprises and foundations;
    • v) The definition of, and the regime governing, property in the public domain;
    • x) The regime governing means of production that are integrated into the cooperative and social sector of ownership;
    • z) The bases for town and country planning and urbanism;
    • aa) The regime governing municipal police forces and the form in which they are created.
  2. Laws that grant authorisation to legislate must define the object, purpose, extent and duration of the authorisation, which may be extended.
  3. Without prejudice to their use in partial stages, authorisations to legislate may not be used more than once.
  4. Authorisations lapse upon the resignation or removal of the Government to which they were granted, at the end of the legislature, and upon the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic.
  5. Authorisations granted to the Government by the Budget law shall comply with the provisions of the present Article and, when they address fiscal matters, shall only lapse at the end of the fiscal year to which they refer.

Article 166

(Form of acts)

  1. The acts provided for in Article 161(a) shall take the form of constitutional laws.
  2. The acts provided for in Articles 164(a) to (f), (h), (j), the first part of (l), (q) and (t) and 255 shall take the form of organic laws
  3. The acts provided for in Article 161(b) to (h) shall take the form of laws.
  4. The acts provided for in Article 163(d) and (e) shall take the form of motions.
  5. The remaining acts of the Assembly of the Republic shall take the form of resolutions, as shall those of the Standing Committee provided for in Article 179(3)(e) and (f).
  6. Resolutions shall be published regardless of whether they are enacted.

Article 167

(Initiative in relation to laws and referenda)

  1. The competence to initiate laws and referenda lies with Members of the Assembly of the Republic, parliamentary groups and the Government, and also, under the terms and conditions laid down by law, with groups of registered electors. The competence to initiate laws in relation to the autonomous regions lies with the respective Legislative Assemblies.
  2. No Member of the Assembly of the Republic, parliamentary group, Legislative Assembly of an autonomous region or group of registered electors may submit bills or draft amendments which, during the then current financial year, involve an increase in the state's expenditure or a decrease in its revenues as set out in the Budget.
  3. No Member of the Assembly of the Republic, parliamentary group or group of registered electors may submit draft referenda which, during the then current financial year, involve an increase in the state's expenditure or a decrease in its revenues as set out in the Budget.
  4. Bills and draft referenda that are definitively rejected may not be resubmitted in the same legislative session, unless a new Assembly of the Republic is elected.
  5. Bills and draft referenda that are not put to the vote in the legislative session in which they are submitted do not require resubmission in the following legislative session, save in the event that the legislature itself comes to an end.
  6. Government bills and draft referenda lapse upon the resignation or removal of the Government.
  7. Government bills that are initiated by Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions lapse at the end of the respective legislature, save for those whose general principles have already been passed, which only lapse upon the end of the legislature of the Assembly of the Republic.
  8. Without prejudice to the bills and draft referenda to which they refer, when they are not withdrawn, parliamentary committees may submit replacement texts.

Article 168

(Discussion and voting)

  1.  Discussion of bills comprises a debate on the general principles and another on the details.
  2.  Voting comprises a vote on the general principles, a vote on the details and a final overall vote.
  3.  If the Assembly so decides, texts that are passed on the general principles shall be put to the vote on the details in committee, without prejudice to the Assembly's power to mandate the Plenary to put the details to the vote, or to the final overall vote by the Plenary.
  4. The details of laws on the matters provided for in Articles 164(a) to (f), (h), (n) and (o) and 165(1)(q) shall obligatorily be put to the vote by the Plenary.
  5.  When put to the overall final vote, organic laws require passage by an absolute majority of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office. The same majority is required for passage by the Plenary of the details of provisions concerning the territorial delimitation of regions provided for in Article 255.
  6. Passage of the following requires a majority that is at least equal to two thirds of all Members present and greater than an absolute majority of all the Members in full exercise of their office:
    • a) The law concerning the media regulatory entity;
    • b) The norms that govern the provisions of Article 118(2);
    • c) The law that regulates the exercise of the right provided for in Article 121(2);
    • d) The provisions of the laws that regulate the matters referred to in Articles 148 and 149, and those concerning the system and method for electing the organs provided for in Article 239(3);
    • e) The provisions that regulate the subject matter of Article 164(o);
    • f) Those provisions of the political and administrative statutes of the autonomous regions that set out the matters which are included in the respective power to legislate.

Article 169

(Parliamentary consideration of legislative acts)

  1. Save for those passed in the exercise of the Government's exclusive legislative competence, executive laws may, upon a motion made by ten Members of the Assembly of the Republic within the thirty days following their publication, excluding periods in which the Assembly of the Republic's proceedings are suspended, be subjected to consideration by the Assembly of the Republic with a view to causing them to cease to be in force or amending them.
  2. Once a motion to consider an executive law drawn up under the terms of an authorisation to legislate has been made and in cases in which one or more draft amendments are submitted, the Assembly may suspend the force of all or part of the executive law until either the law that amends it is published, or all the draft amendments are rejected.
  3. Such suspensions expire after ten plenary sittings if the Assembly has not pronounced itself finally by then.
  4. If approval is given for the legislative act to cease to be in force, it shall so cease on the day on which the respective resolution is published in the Diário da República, and may not be republished during the same legislative session.
  5. If a motion to consider has been made and the Assembly has not pronounced thereon, or in the event that the Assembly has decided to make amendments, but has not put the respective law to the vote by the end of the then current legislative session, and on condition that at least fifteen plenary sittings have passed, the consideration process shall be deemed to have lapsed.
  6. Proceedings concerning the parliamentary consideration of executive laws enjoy priority, as laid down in the Rules of Procedure

Article 170

(Urgent proceedings)

  1. Upon the initiative of any Member of the Assembly of the Republic, any parliamentary group or the Government, the Assembly may declare any bill or draft resolution to be the object of urgent proceedings.
  2. Upon the initiative of the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions, the Assembly may also declare any government bill submitted by them to be the object of urgent proceedings.

CHAPTER III

Organisation and modus operandi

Article 171

(Legislature)

  1. The duration of each legislature is four legislative sessions.
  2. In cases of dissolution, the Assembly that is then elected shall commence a new legislature, the duration of which shall be extended at the beginning by the time needed to complete the period that corresponds to the legislative session that was in progress at the date of the election.

Article 172

(Dissolution)

  1. The Assembly of the Republic may not be dissolved during the six months following its election, during the last six months of the President of the Republic's term of office, or while a state of siege or a state of emergency is in force.
  2. Failure to comply with the provisions of the previous paragraph renders the dissolution decree legally nugatory.
  3. Dissolution of the Assembly does not prejudice the continuation of its Members' term of office, or the competences of the Standing Committee, until the first sitting of the Assembly following the subsequent election.

Article 173

(Sitting following elections)

  1. The Assembly of the Republic shall sit by right on the third day following the calculation of the general results of the election, or, in the case of elections called because a legislature is due to reach its term and the said third day falls before the legislature reaches that term, on the first day of the following legislature.
  2. In the event that such a date falls when the Assembly is not in full session, it shall sit for the purposes of Article 175.

Article 174

(Legislative sessions, full sessions and calling)

  1. Legislative sessions last for one year and begin on 15 September.
  2. Without prejudice to suspensions decided by a two-thirds majority of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic who are present, the Assembly of the Republic's normal parliamentary term is from 15 September to 15 June.
  3. Following a Plenary decision to extend the normal parliamentary term, or on the initiative of the Standing Committee, or, in the event that the latter is unable to function and there is a serious emergency, on the initiative of more than half of all the Members, the Assembly of the Republic may function outside the term set out in the previous paragraph.
  4. The President of the Republic may also call the Assembly on an extraordinary basis in order to address specific subjects.
  5. When the Assembly so decides under the same terms as those set out in paragraph (2), committees may function regardless of whether the Assembly's Plenary is in full session.

Article 175

(The Assembly's internal competences)

The Assembly of the Republic has the competences:

  • a) To draw up and pass its Rules of Procedure, in accordance with the Constitution;
  • b) To elect its President and the remaining members of the Bureau by absolute majority of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office. The four Vice-Presidents shall be elected upon proposals from the four largest parliamentary groups;
  • c) To form the Standing Committee and the remaining committees.

Article 176

(Order of business of plenary sittings)

  1. The President of the Assembly of the Republic shall set the order of business in accordance with the priority accorded to each matter in the Rules of Procedure, and without prejudice to the right of appeal to the Assembly's Plenary and to the competence of the President of the Republic provided for in Article 174(4).
  2. The Government and parliamentary groups may request that priority be given to matters of national interest that require urgent resolution.
  3. Every parliamentary group has the right to set the order of business of a certain number of sittings in accordance with a criterion that shall be laid down in the Rules of Procedure, in which respect the position of minority parties and parties that are not represented in the Government must always be safeguarded.
  4. Legislative Assemblies of autonomous regions may request that priority be given to matters of regional interest that require urgent resolution.

Article 177

(Attendance by members of the Government)

  1. Ministers have the right to attend the Assembly of the Republic's plenary sittings, at which they may be assisted or substituted by their Secretaries of State, and both have the right to speak, as laid down in the Rules of Procedure.
  2. Sittings shall be scheduled at which members of the Government shall be present in order to respond to questions and requests for clarification from Members of the Assembly of the Republic. These sittings shall take place with the minimum frequency laid down in the Rules of Procedure and on dates that shall be set by agreement with the Government.
  3. Members of the Government may ask to participate in committee proceedings, and must appear before committees when asked to do so.

Article 178

(Committees)

  1. The Assembly of the Republic shall have the committees provided for in the Rules of Procedure, and may form ad hoc committees of inquiry or for any other given purpose.
  2. Committees shall be composed in proportion to the number of seats each party holds in the Assembly of the Republic.
  3. Petitions addressed to the Assembly shall be considered by the committees or by a committee formed especially for the purpose, which may consult the other committees with competence for the matter in question. In all cases any citizens may be asked to testify.
  4. Without prejudice to their formation in accordance with the normal provisions, parliamentary committees of inquiry shall obligatorily be formed whenever a motion is made to that effect by one fifth of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office, up to a limit of one per Member and per legislative session.
  5. Parliamentary committees of inquiry have the investigative powers of the judicial authorities.
  6. The chairmanships of the various committees shall be divided between the parliamentary groups in proportion to the number of Members of the Assembly of the Republic in each group.
  7. Representatives of the Legislative Assembly of the proposing autonomous region may participate in the committee meetings at which regional legislative proposals are discussed, as laid down in the Rules of Procedure.

Article 179

(Standing Committee)

  1. Outside periods in which the Assembly of the Republic is in full session, during periods in which it is dissolved, and in the remaining cases provided for in the Constitution, the Assembly of the Republic's Standing Committee shall be in session.
  2. 2. The Standing Committee is chaired by the President of the Assembly of the Republic and is also composed of the Vice-Presidents and of Members of the Assembly of the Republic nominated by each of the parties, each in proportion to the number of seats it holds in the Assembly.
  3. The Standing Committee has the competences to:
    • a) Scrutinise compliance with the Constitution and the laws and monitor the activities of the Government and the Administration;
    • b) Exercise the Assembly's powers in relation to the mandate of Members of the Assembly of the Republic;
    • c) Take steps to ensure that the Assembly is called whenever necessary;
    • d) Prepare the opening of the legislative session;
    • e) Consent to the President of the Republic's absence from Portuguese territory;
    • f) Authorise the President of the Republic to declare a state of siege or a state of emergency, declare war or make peace.
  4. In the case provided for in subparagraph (f) of the previous paragraph, the Standing Committee shall take steps to ensure that the Assembly is called as soon as possible.

Article 180

(Parliamentary groups)

  1. The Members of the Assembly of the Republic who are elected for each party or coalition of parties may form a parliamentary group.
  2. Each parliamentary group has the following rights:
    • a) To participate in Assembly committees in proportion to the number of its Members, and to nominate its representatives on those committees;
    • b) To be consulted when the order of business is set, and to appeal to the Plenary against that order of business;
    • c) To cause the holding of debates on issues of urgent current public interest, which the Government shall attend;
    • d) In each legislative session, to cause the holding of two debates on a matter of general or sectoral policy, by calling on the Government to attend the Assembly;
    • e) To ask the Standing Committee to take steps to ensure that the Plenary is convened;
    • f) To move the formation of parliamentary committees of inquiry;
    • g) To initiate legislation;
    • h) To make motions rejecting the Government's Programme;
    • i) To make motions of no confidence in the Government;
    • j) To be regularly and directly informed by the Government about the situation and progress of the main matters of public interest.
  3. Each parliamentary group has the right to dispose of places in which to work at the Seat of the Assembly, together with technical and administrative staff of its choice, as laid down by law.
  4. Members of the Assembly of the Republic who do not belong to any parliamentary group shall be ensured certain minimum rights and guarantees, as laid down in the Rules of Procedure.

Article 181

(Assembly staff and specialists)

The Assembly and its committees shall be assisted in their work by a permanent body of technical and administrative staff, and by specialists who are on assignment or are temporarily contracted. The number of such staff and specialists shall be that which the President deems necessary.

TITLE IV

Government

CHAPTER I

Function and structure

Article 182

(Definition)

The Government is the entity that conducts the country's general policy and the senior organ of the Public Administration.

Article 183

(Composition)

  1. The Government comprises the Prime Minister, the Ministers and the Secretaries and Under Secretaries of State.
  2. The Government may include one or more Deputy Prime Ministers.
  3. The number, designation and responsibilities of the ministries and secretary-of-state's offices and the forms of coordination between them shall be decided in each case by the decree appointing the respective officeholders, or by executive law.

Article 184

(Council of Ministers)

  1. The Council of Ministers comprises the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers if any, and the Ministers.
  2. The law may create specialised Councils of Ministers with competence for specific matters.
  3. Secretaries and Under Secretaries of State may be required to take part in meetings of the Council of Ministers.

Article 185

(Substitution of members of the Government)

  1. In the event that there is no Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister shall be substituted during his absence or inability to perform his functions by the Minister he indicates to the President of the Republic, or, in the absence of such indication, by the Minister designated by the President of the Republic.
  2. During his absence or inability to perform his functions, each Minister shall be substituted by the Secretary of State he indicates to the Prime Minister, or, in the absence of such indication, by the member of the Government designated by the Prime Minister.

Article 186

(Beginning and end of functions)

  1. The Prime Minister's functions begin upon his installation and end when he is discharged by the President of the Republic.
  2. The functions of the remaining members of the Government begin upon their installation and end when they or the Prime Minister are discharged.
  3. The functions of Secretaries and Under Secretaries of State also end when their Minister is discharged.
  4. In cases in which the Government resigns or is removed, the Prime Minister of the outgoing Government is discharged on the date of the appointment and installation of the new Prime Minister.
  5. Until its Programme has been considered by the Assembly of the Republic, or after its resignation or removal, the Government shall limit itself to undertaking the acts that are strictly necessary in order to ensure the management of public affairs.

CHAPTER II

Formation and accountability

Article 187

(Formation)

  1. The President of the Republic appoints the Prime Minister after consulting the parties with seats in Assembly of the Republic and in the light of the electoral results.
  2. The President of the Republic appoints the remaining members of the Government upon a proposal from the Prime Minister.

Article 188

(The Government's Programme)

The Government's Programme shall set out the main political guidelines and the measures that are to be adopted or proposed in the various areas of governmental activity.

Article 189

(Collective responsibility)

Members of the Government are bound by the Government's Programme and by decisions taken by the Council of Ministers.

Article 190

(Government accountability)

The Government is accountable to the President of the Republic and the Assembly of the Republic.

Article 191

(Accountability of members of the Government)

  1. The Prime Minister is accountable to the President of the Republic and, within the ambit of the Government's political responsibility, to the Assembly of the Republic.
  2. Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister and, within the ambit of the Government's political responsibility, to the Assembly of the Republic.
  3. Secretaries and Under Secretaries of State are accountable to the Prime Minister and their Minister.

Article 192

(Consideration of the Government's Programme)

  1. Within a time limit of at most ten days after its appointment, the Government shall submit its Programme to the Assembly of the Republic for consideration, by means of a Prime Ministerial statement.
  2. If the Assembly of the Republic is not in full session, its President shall obligatorily call it for this purpose.
  3. The debate may not last for more than three days, and until it is closed, any parliamentary group may make a motion rejecting the Programme, or the Government may request the passage of a confidence motion.
  4. Rejection of the Government's Programme requires an absolute majority of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office.

Article 193

(Request for confidence motion)

The Government may ask the Assembly of the Republic to pass a confidence motion in relation to a statement of general policy or to any matter of important national interest.

Article 194

(Motions of no confidence)

  1. Upon the initiative of one quarter of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office or of any parliamentary group, the Assembly of the Republic may put to the vote motions of no confidence in the Government, in relation to the latter's implementation of its Programme or to any matter of important national interest.
  2. Motions of no confidence may only be considered forty-eight hours after they are made, in a debate that shall last for no more than three days.
  3. If a motion of no confidence is not passed, its signatories may not make another such motion during the same legislative session.

Article 195

(Resignation or removal of the Government)

  1. The following shall imply the resignation of the Government:
    • a) The beginning of a new legislature;
    • b) Acceptance by the President of the Republic of the Prime Minister's resignation;
    • c) The Prime Minister's death or lasting physical incapacitation;
    • d) Rejection of the Government's Programme;
    • e) The failure of any confidence motion;
    • f) Passage of a motion of no confidence by an absolute majority of all the Members of the Assembly of the Republic in full exercise of their office.
  2. The President of the Republic may only remove the Government when it becomes necessary to do so in order to ensure the normal operation of the democratic institutions and after first consulting the Council of State.

Article 196

(Implementation of criminal liability of members of the Government)

  1. No member of the Government may be detained, arrested or imprisoned without the authorisation of the Assembly of the Republic, save for a wilful crime punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of more than three years and in flagrante delicto.
  2. In the event that criminal proceedings are brought against any member of the Government and he is definitively charged, the Assembly of the Republic shall decide whether or not the member of the Government must be suspended so that the proceedings can take their course. In the case of a crime of the type referred to in the previous paragraph, the decision to suspend is obligatory.

CHAPTER III

Competences

Article 197

(Political competences)

  1. In the exercise of its political functions the Government has the competences:
    • a) In accordance with Article 140, to counter-sign acts of the President of the Republic;
    • b) To negotiate and finalise international conventions;
    • c) To approve international agreements whose approval is not within the competences of, or which have not been submitted to, the Assembly of the Republic;
    • d) To present and submit government bills and draft resolutions to the Assembly of the Republic;
    • e) In accordance with Article 115, to propose to the President of the Republic that matters of important national interest be subjected to referendum;
    • f) To pronounce on declarations of a state of siege or a state of emergency;
    • g) To propose to the President of the Republic that he declare war or make peace;
    • h) In accordance with Article 162(d), to submit the accounts of the state and of the other public entities laid down by law, to the Assembly of the Republic;
    • i) For the purpose of Articles 161(n) and 163(f) and in good time, to submit information concerning the process of constructing the European Union to the Assembly of the Republic;
    • j) To undertake the other acts that are entrusted to it by the Constitution or the law.
  2. Government approval of international agreements shall take the form of a decree.

Article 198

(Legislative competences)

  1. In the exercise of its legislative functions the Government has the competences to:
    • a) Make executive laws on matters that do not fall within the exclusive competence of the Assembly of the Republic;
    • b) Subject to authorisation by the Assembly of the Republic, make executive laws on matters that fall within the latter's partially exclusive competence;
    • c) Make executive laws that develop the principles or the general bases of the legal regimes contained in laws that limit themselves to those principles or general bases.
  2. The Government has the exclusive competence to legislate on matters that concern its own organisation and modus operandi.
  3. The executive laws provided for in paragraph (1)(b) and (c) must make express mention of the law granting authorisation to legislate, or the basic law, under which they are passed.

Article 199

(Administrative competences)

In the exercise of its administrative functions the Government has the competences:

  • a) To draw up Plans on the basis of the respective Major Options, and to cause them to be implemented;
  • b) To cause the State Budget to be executed;
  • c) To make the regulations needed for the proper implementation of laws;
  • d) To direct the state's departments and services and all the activities under its direct administration, civil and military, to superintend the indirect administration, and to exercise oversight over the latter and over the autonomous administration;
  • e) To undertake all the acts that the law requires in relation to staff and agents of the state and of other public sector legal persons;
  • f) To defend democratic legality;
  • g) To undertake all the acts and make all the dispositions needed to promote economic and social development and fulfil collective needs.

Article 200

(Competences of the Council of Ministers)

  1. The Council of Ministers has the competences:
    • a) To define the general lines of government policy and of the implementation thereof;
    • b) To decide whether to ask the Assembly of the Republic to pass confidence motions;
    • c) To approve government bills and draft resolutions;
    • d) To pass executive laws, and to approve international agreements that are not submitted to the Assembly of the Republic;
    • e) To approve Plans;
    • f) To pass Government acts that involve increases or reductions in public revenues or expenditure;
    • g) To decide other matters that are within the Government's competences and are allocated to it by law or submitted to it by the Prime Minister or any Minister.
  2. Specialised Councils of Ministers exercise the competences that are allocated to them by law or delegated to them by the Council of Ministers.

Article 201

(Competences of members of the Government)

  1. The Prime Minister has the competences:
    • a) To direct the Government's general policy and to coordinate and orient the actions of all the Ministers;
    • b) To direct the work of the Government and its general relations with the other state entities and organs;
    • c) To inform the President of the Republic about matters concerning the conduct of the country's internal and external policy;
    • d) To exercise the other functions that are allocated to him by the Constitution and the law
  2. Ministers have the competences:
    • a) To implement the policy that has been set for their Ministries;
    • b) Within the scope of their respective Ministries, to conduct the relations of a general nature between the Government and the other state entities and organs.
  3. Executive laws and the other decrees issued by the Government shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the Ministers with competence for the matter in question.

TITLE V

Courts

CHAPTER I

General principles

Article 202

(Jurisdictional function)

  1. The courts are the entities that exercise sovereignty with the competence to administer justice in the name of the people.
  2. In administering justice the courts are responsible for ensuring the defence of those citizens' rights and interests that are protected by law, repressing breaches of democratic legality and deciding conflicts between interests, public and private.
  3. In the exercise of their functions the courts have the right to the assistance of the other authorities.
  4. The law may institutionalise non-jurisdictional instruments and forms of settling conflicts.

Article 203

(Independence)

The courts are independent and subject only to the law.

Article 204

(Compliance with the Constitution)

In matters that are submitted for judgement the courts may not apply norms that contravene the provisions of the Constitution or the principles enshrined therein.

Article 205

(Court decisions)

  1. Court decisions that are not merely administrative in nature shall set out their grounds in the form laid down by law.
  2. Court decisions are binding on all public and private entities and prevail over the decisions of any other authorities.
  3. The law shall regulate the terms under which court decisions are executed in relation to any authority, and shall lay down the sanctions to be imposed on those responsible for any failure to execute them.

Article 206

(Court hearings)

Court hearings are public, save when, in order to safeguard personal dignity or public morals or to ensure its own normal operation, the court itself decides otherwise in a written order that sets out the grounds for its decision.

Article 207

(Juries, public participation and technical advice)

  1. In the cases and with the composition laid down by law, and particularly when the prosecution or the defence so requests, a jury shall participate in the trial of serious crimes, save those involving terrorism or highly organised crime.
  2. The law may provide for the participation of lay magistrates in judgements concerning labour-related matters, public health infractions, minor offences, the execution of sentences or other cases that justify special consideration of the social values that have been infringed.
  3. The law may also provide for the participation of technically qualified advisors in the trial of certain matters.

Article 208

(Legal representation)

The law shall ensure that lawyers enjoy the immunities needed to exercise their mandates and shall regulate legal representation as an element that is essential to the administration of justice.

CHAPTER II

Organisation of the courts

Article 209

(Categories of court)

  1. In addition to the Constitutional Court, there shall be the following categories of court:
    • a) The Supreme Court of Justice and the courts of law of first and second instance;
    • b) The Supreme Administrative Court and the remaining administrative and tax courts;
    • c) The Court of Auditors.
  2. There may be maritime courts, arbitration tribunals and justices of the peace.
  3. The law shall lay down the cases and forms in which the courts provided for in the previous paragraphs may separately or jointly be constituted as conflict-resolution tribunals.
  4. Without prejudice to the provisions concerning courts martial, the existence of courts with the exclusive competence to try certain categories of crime is prohibited.

Article 210

(Supreme Court of Justice and instances)

  1. Without prejudice to the specific competence of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice is the senior organ in the hierarchy of the courts of law.
  2. The President of the Supreme Court of Justice is elected by its Justices.
  3. As a rule the courts of first instance are the district courts, and the status of the courts referred to in paragraph (2) of the following Article is equivalent to that of the latter.
  4. As a rule the courts of second instance are the Courts of Appeal.
  5. The Supreme Court of Justice shall function as a court of instance in the cases laid down by law.

Article 211

(Competence and specialisation of courts of law)

  1. The courts of law are the general courts in civil and criminal matters and shall exercise jurisdiction in every area that is not allocated to other judicial orders.
  2. There may be courts of first instance that have specific competences or are specialised in the trial of certain matters.
  3. The composition of courts of any instance that try crimes of a strictly military nature shall include one or more military judges, as laid down by law.
  4. The Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Justice may operate in specialised sections.

Article 212

(Administrative and tax courts)

  1. Without prejudice to the specific competence of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Administrative Court is the senior organ in the hierarchy of administrative and tax courts.
  2. The President of the Supreme Administrative Court is elected by its Justices from among their number.
  3. The administrative and tax courts have the competence to try contested actions and appeals whose object is to settle disputes arising from administrative and fiscal legal relations.

Article 213

(Courts martial)

For as long as a state of war is in effect, there shall be courts martial with the competence to try crimes of a strictly military nature.

Article 214

(Court of Auditors)

  1. The Court of Auditors is the senior organ for the scrutiny of the legality of public expenditure and for judging the accounts which the law requires to be submitted to it. It particularly has the competence to:
    • a) Give an opinion on the General State Accounts, including the social security accounts;
    • b) Give an opinion on the accounts of the Azores and Madeira Autonomous Regions;
    • c) Enforce liability for financial infractions, as laid down by law;
    • d) Exercise the other competences allocated to it by law.
  2. Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 133(m), the term of office of the President of the Court of Auditors is four years.
  3. The Court of Auditors may operate in a decentralised manner, in regional sections, as laid down by law.
  4. In the Azores and Madeira Autonomous Regions there shall be sections of the Court of Auditors with full competence for the matter in question in the respective region, as laid down by law.

CHAPTER III

Status and role of judges

Article 215

(Judges of the courts of law)

  1. The judges of the courts of law form a single body and shall be governed by a single statute.
  2. The law shall lay down the requisites for, and the rules governing, the recruitment of judges of the courts of law of first instance.
  3. The criterion that prevails in the recruitment of judges of the courts of law of second instance shall be that of merit, to be determined by a competitive curricular selection process between judges of first instance.
  4. Access to the bench of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be determined by a competitive curricular selection process that is open to judges, public prosecutors and other meritorious jurists, as laid down by law.

Article 216

(Guarantees and incompatibilities)

  1. Judges enjoy security of tenure and may not be transferred, suspended, retired or removed from office except in the cases provided for by law.
  2. Save for the exceptions laid down by law, judges may not be held personally liable for their decisions.
  3. Serving judges may not perform any other public or private function, save for unremunerated teaching or academic legal research functions, as laid down by law.
  4. Serving judges may not be appointed to limited-term positions unrelated to the work of the courts without the authorisation of the competent Supreme Council.
  5. The law may lay down other incompatibilities with the exercise of the function of judge.

Article 217

(Appointment, assignment, transfer and promotion of judges)

  1. The Supreme Judicial Council has the competence to appoint, assign, transfer and promote judges of the courts of law and exercise discipline over them, as laid down by law.
  2. The respective Supreme Council has the competence to appoint, assign, transfer and promote judges of the administrative and tax courts and exercise discipline over them, as laid down by law.
  3. The law shall define the rules governing the assignment, transfer and promotion of judges of the remaining courts and the exercise of discipline over them, and shall lay down the competences to do so, while safeguarding the guarantees provided for in the Constitution,.

Article 218

(Supreme Judicial Council)

  1. The Supreme Judicial Council is chaired by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice and also comprises the following ordinary members:
    • a) Two appointed by the President of the Republic;
    • b) Seven elected by the Assembly of the Republic;
    • c) Seven judges elected by their peers in harmony with the principle of proportional representation.
  2. The rules governing guarantees enjoyed by judges are applicable to all the ordinary members of the Supreme Judicial Council.
  3. The law may provide for court officials to be members of the Supreme Judicial Council, to be elected by their peers. Their participation shall be restricted to the discussion and voting on matters concerning the assessment of the professional merit of, and the exercise of discipline over, court officials.

CHAPTER IV

Public Prosecutors' Office

Article 219

(Functions and statute)

  1. The Public Prosecutors' Office has the competence to represent the state and defend the interests laid down by law, and, subject to the provisions of the following paragraph and as laid down by law, to participate in the implementation of the criminal policy defined by the entities that exercise sovereignty, exercise penal action in accordance with the principle of legality, and defend democratic legality.
  2. The Public Prosecutors' Office shall have its own statute and autonomy, as laid down by law.
  3. The law shall create special forms of advice to be provided to the Public Prosecutors' Office in cases involving strictly military crimes.
  4. The agents of the Public Prosecutors' Office are accountable judicial officers, shall form part of and be subject to a hierarchy, and may not be transferred, suspended, retired or removed from office except in the cases provided for by law.
  5. The competences to appoint, assign, transfer and promote agents of the Public Prosecutors' Office and exercise discipline over them pertain to the Attorney General's Office.

Article 220

(Attorney General's Office)

  1. The Attorney General's Office is the senior organ of the Public Prosecutors' Office and shall have the composition and competences laid down by law.
  2. The Attorney General's Office is presided over by the Attorney General and encompasses the Supreme Council of the Public Prosecutors' Office, which includes members elected by the Assembly of the Republic and members elected by the public prosecutors from among their number.
  3. Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 133(m), the Attorney General's term of office is six years.

TITLE VI

Constitutional Court

Article 221

(Definition)

The Constitutional Court is the court with the specific competence to administer justice in matters of a constitutional-law nature.

Article 222

(Composition and status and role of Justices)

  1. The Constitutional Court is composed of thirteen Justices, ten of whom are appointed by the Assembly of the Republic and three co-opted by those ten.
  2. Six of the Justices who are appointed by the Assembly of the Republic or are co-opted must obligatorily be chosen from among the judges of the remaining courts, and the others from among jurists.
  3. The term of office of the Justices of the Constitutional Court is nine years and is not renewable.
  4. The President of the Constitutional Court is elected by its Justices.
  5. Constitutional Court Justices enjoy the same guarantees of independence, security of tenure, impartiality and absence of personal liability and are subject to the same incompatibilities as the judges of the remaining courts.
  6. The law shall lay down the immunities and other rules concerning the status and role of Constitutional Court Justices.

Article 223

(Competences)

  1. The Constitutional Court has the competence to consider unconstitutionality and illegality, in accordance with Articles 277 et sequitur.
  2. The Constitutional Court also has the competences:
    • a) To verify the death and declare the permanent physical incapacity of the President of the Republic, and to verify cases in which he is temporarily prevented from exercising his functions;
    • b) To verify loss of the office of President of the Republic in the cases provided for in Article 129(3) and Article 130(3);
    • c) As the court of final instance, to judge the proper observance and validity of electoral procedural acts, as laid down by law;
    • d) For the purposes of Article 124(3), to verify the death, and to declare the incapacity to exercise the function of President of the Republic, of any candidate therefore;
    • e) To verify the legality of the formation of political parties and coalitions thereof, to assess the legality of their names, initials and symbols, and to order their abolition, in accordance with the Constitution and the law;
    • f) To verify in advance the constitutionality and legality of national, regional and local referenda, including consideration of the requisites in relation to the respective universe of electors;
    • g) At the request of Members, as laid down by law, to judge appeals concerning losses of seat in, and elections conducted by, the Assembly of the Republic and the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions;
    • h) To judge those actions involving challenges to elections to, and to decisions taken by, political party organs, which by law are subject to appeal.
  3. The Constitutional Court also has the competence to exercise the other functions that are allocated to it by the Constitution and the law.

Article 224

(Organisation and modus operandi)

  1. The law shall lay down the rules governing the Constitutional Court's seat, organisation and modus operandi.
  2. Save for the purpose of the abstract review of constitutionality and legality, the law may require the Constitutional Court to operate in sections.
  3. The law shall regulate appeals to the Plenary of the Constitutional Court against contradictory decisions by different sections in the field of the application of the same norm.

TITLE VII

Autonomous Regions

Article 225

(Political and administrative system of the Azores and Madeira)

  1. The grounds for the specific political and administrative regime of the Azores and Madeira archipelagos are their geographic, economic, social and cultural characteristics and the island populations' historic aspirations to autonomy.
  2. The autonomy of the regions is designed to ensure democratic participation by citizens, economic and social development and the promotion and defence of regional interests, as well as the strengthening of national unity and of the bonds of solidarity between all Portuguese.
  3. Regional political and administrative autonomy does not affect the integrity of the sovereignty of the state and shall be exercised within the overall framework of the Constitution.

Article 226

(Statutes and electoral laws)

  1. Draft political and administrative statutes and government bills concerning the election of members of the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions are drawn up by those Legislative Assemblies and sent to the Assembly of the Republic for discussion and passage or rejection.
  2. If the Assembly of the Republic rejects or amends such a draft or bill, it shall return it to the respective Legislative Assembly for consideration and the issue of an opinion.
  3. Once the opinion has been drawn up, the Assembly of the Republic shall put the draft or bill to the final discussion and vote.
  4. The regime provided for in the previous paragraphs is applicable to amendments to both the political and administrative statutes and laws regarding the election of members of the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions.

Article 227

(Powers of autonomous regions)

  1. The autonomous regions are territorial legal persons and have the following powers, which shall be defined in their statutes:
    • a) To legislate within the ambit of the region on those matters that are set out in the respective political and administrative statute and are not within the exclusive competence of entities that exercise sovereignty;
    • b) Subject to authorisation by the Assembly of the Republic, to legislate on matters that are within that Assembly's partially exclusive legislative competence, with the exception of the matters provided for in Article 165(1)(a) to (c), the first part of subparagraph (d), subparagraphs (f) and (i), the second part of subparagraph (m) and subparagraphs (o), (p), (q), (s), (t), (v), (x) and (aa);
    • c) Within the ambit of the region, to develop the principles or the general bases of the legal regimes contained in laws that limit themselves thereto;
    • d) To regulate regional legislation and those laws issued by entities that exercise sovereignty that do not reserve the respective regulatory power to the latter;
    • e) To initiate statutes, and to initiate legislation on matters concerning the election of members of the respective Legislative Assemblies pursuant to Article 226;
    • f) To initiate legislation in accordance with Article 167(1), by submitting regional government bills and the respective draft amendments to the Assembly of the Republic;
    • g) To exercise their own executive power;
    • h) To administer and dispose of their assets and to make acts and contracts in which they have an interest;
    • i) To exercise their own power to tax as laid down by law, and to adapt the national fiscal system to regional specificities under the terms of framework laws of the Assembly of the Republic;
    • j) In accordance with the terms of their statutes and the law governing the finances of the autonomous regions, to dispose of the tax revenues collected or generated in the autonomous region, as well as of a part of the state's tax revenues determined in accordance with a principle that ensures effective national solidarity, and of other revenues that are allocated to them, and to appropriate those revenues to their expenditure;
    • l) To create and abolish local authorities and modify the respective area, as laid down by law;
    • m) To exercise the power of oversight over local authorities;
    • n) To raise rural settlements to the category of town or city;
    • o) To superintend departments and services, public institutes and public sector and nationalised enterprises that pursue their activities exclusively or predominantly in the region, and in other cases in which the regional interest justifies it;
    • p) To pass the regional economic and social development plan, the regional budget and the region's accounts and to take part in drawing up the National Plans;
    • q) Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 165(1)(d), to define administrative offences and the respective sanctions;
    • r) To participate in the definition and implementation of the fiscal, monetary, financial and exchange policies in such a way as to ensure regional control of the means of payment in circulation and the financing of the investments needed for the region's economic and social development;
    • s) To participate in the definition of policies concerning territorial waters, the exclusive economic zone and the adjacent seabeds;
    • t) To participate in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements that directly concern them, and to share in the benefits derived therefrom;
    • u) To establish cooperation with foreign regional entities and to participate in organisations whose purpose is to foster inter-regional dialogue and cooperation, in accordance with the guidelines defined by the entities that exercise sovereignty with competence in relation to foreign policy matters;
    • v) On their own initiative, or when consulted by entities that exercise sovereignty, to pronounce on issues that are within the latter's competences and concern the autonomous regions, as well as, in matters that concern their specific interests, on the definition of the Portuguese state's positions within the ambit of the process of constructing the European Union;
    • x) To participate, when matters that concern them are at stake, in the process of constructing the European Union by means of their representation in the respective regional institutions and in the delegations involved in European Union decision-making processes, as well as to transpose Union legal acts in accordance with Article 112.
  2. Regional government bills seeking authorisation to legislate must be accompanied by the draft regional legislative decree for which authorisation is sought. The provisions of Article 165(2) and (3) shall apply to the corresponding laws granting authorisation to legislate.
  3. The authorisations referred to in the previous paragraph lapse upon the end of the legislature or the dissolution of either the Assembly of the Republic, or the Legislative Assembly to which they were granted.
  4. The regional legislative decrees provided for in paragraph (1)(b) and (c) must expressly invoke the respective authorisation laws or basic laws. The provisions of Article 169 are applicable to the former, mutatis mutandis.

Article 228

(Legislative autonomy)

  1. The legislative autonomy of the autonomous regions applies to the matters that are set out in the respective political and administrative statute and do not fall within the exclusive competence of the entities that exercise sovereignty.
  2. In the absence of specific regional legislation on matters that do not fall within the exclusive competence of the entities that exercise sovereignty, the current legal norms shall apply in the autonomous regions.

Article 229

(Cooperation between entities that exercise sovereignty and regional organs)

  1. In cooperation with the self-government organs, the entities that exercise sovereignty shall ensure the economic and social development of the autonomous regions, with a particular view to the correction of the inequalities derived from insularity.
  2. The entities that exercise sovereignty shall always consult the regional government organs in relation to questions that fall within their own competences and concern the autonomous regions.
  3. The financial relations between the Republic and the autonomous regions shall be regulated by the law provided for in Article 164(t).
  4. The Government of the Republic and the Regional Governments may agree other forms of cooperation, particularly those involving acts entailing the delegation of competences. The corresponding transfer of financial resources and the applicable scrutiny mechanisms shall be established in each case.

Article 230

(Representatives of the Republic)

  1. For each of the autonomous regions there is a Representative of the Republic, whom the President of the Republic appoints and discharges from office after first consulting the Government.
  2. Save in the case of discharge from office, the duration of a Representative of the Republic's term of office is the same as that of the President of the Republic and ends upon installation of a new Representative of the Republic.
  3. In the event that the office falls vacant, as well as in cases in which the Representative of the Republic is absent or unable to perform his functions, he shall temporarily be substituted by the President of the Legislative Assembly.

Article 231

(Self-government organs of autonomous regions)

  1. The self-government organs of each autonomous region are the Legislative Assembly and the Regional Government.
  2. Legislative Assemblies are elected by universal, direct and secret suffrage in harmony with the principle of proportional representation.
  3. Each Regional Government is politically accountable to the Legislative Assembly of the autonomous region, and the Representative of the Republic appoints its president in the light of the results of the elections.
  4. The Representative of the Republic appoints and discharges the remaining members of the Regional Government upon the proposal of the respective president.
  5. Regional Governments are installed before the Legislative Assembly of the autonomous region.
  6. Regional Governments have exclusive competence in matters concerning their own organisation and modus operandi.
  7. The status and role of the officeholders of the self-government organs of the autonomous regions shall be defined in the respective political and administrative statute.

Article 232

(Competences of Legislative Assemblies of autonomous regions)

  1. The Legislative Assembly of the autonomous region shall have the exclusive competence to exercise the powers referred to in Article 227(1)(a), (b) and (c), the second part of subparagraph (d), subparagraph (f), the first part of subparagraph (i) and subparagraphs (l), (n) and (q), as well as to pass the regional budget, the region's economic and social development plan and accounts, and to adapt the national fiscal system to the region's specificities.
  2. The Legislative Assembly of the autonomous region has the competence to submit draft regional referenda by means of which the President of the Republic may decide to call upon the citizens who are registered to vote in the respective territory to directly and bindingly pronounce on questions that are of important specific interest to the region. The provisions of Article 115 apply to such referenda, mutatis mutandis.
  3. The Legislative Assembly of the autonomous region has the competence to draft and pass its rules of procedure in accordance with the Constitution and the respective political and administrative statute.
  4. The provisions of Articles 175(c), 178(1) to (6) and 179 except for paragraphs (3)(e) and (f) and (4), and of Article 180 apply, mutatis mutandis, to the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions and the respective parliamentary groups.

Article 233

(Signature and veto of Representatives of the Republic)

  1. The competence to sign regional legislative decrees and regional regulatory decrees and order their publication pertains to the Representative of the Republic.
  2. Within a time limit of fifteen days counting from the receipt of any decree of the Legislative Assembly of the autonomous region that is sent to him for signature, or of the publication of the decision in which the Constitutional Court refrains from pronouncing the unconstitutionality of any norm contained therein, the Representative of the Republic must sign the decree, or exercise the right of veto and request that the legislative act be reconsidered by means of a message setting out the grounds therefore.
  3. If the Legislative Assembly of the autonomous region confirms its vote by an absolute majority of all its members in full exercise of their office, the Representative of the Republic must sign the legislative act within a time limit of eight days counting from its receipt.
  4. Within a time limit of twenty days counting from the receipt of any decree of the Regional Government that is sent to him for signature, the Representative of the Republic must either sign it, or refuse to sign it and inform the Regional Government in writing of the reasons for doing so, whereupon the Regional Government may convert the decree into a bill for submission to the Legislative Assembly of the autonomous region.
  5. The Representative of the Republic shall also exercise the right of veto pursuant to Articles 278 and 279.

Article 234

(Dissolution and removal of self-government organs)

  1. After first consulting the Council of State and the parties with seats in them, the President of the Republic may dissolve the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions.
  2. Dissolution of the Legislative Assembly of an autonomous region causes the removal of the Regional Government, which shall then be limited to undertaking the acts that are strictly necessary in order to ensure the management of public affairs until the new government takes office following elections.
  3. Dissolution of the Legislative Assembly of an autonomous region does not prejudice the continuation of its members' term of office, or the competences of the Standing Committee, until the Assembly's first sitting following the subsequent elections.

TITLE VIII

Local government

CHAPTER I

General principles

Article 235

(Local authorities)

  1. The democratic organisational structure of the state includes the existence of local authorities.
  2. Local authorities are territorial legal persons, have representative organs and seek to pursue the interests of their populations.

Article 236

(Categories of local authority and administrative division)

  1. The local authorities on the mainland are parishes, municipalities and administrative regions.
  2. The Azores and Madeira autonomous regions comprise parishes and municipalities.
  3. In large urban areas and on the islands the law may establish other forms of territorial local government organisation in accordance with their specific conditions.
  4. The administrative division of the territory shall be established by law.

Article 237

(Administrative decentralisation)

  1. The law shall regulate the responsibilities and organisation of local authorities and the competences of their organs, in harmony with the principle of administrative decentralisation.
  2. Each local authority assembly has the competence to exercise the powers allocated to it by law, including the power to pass the options of its plan and budget.
  3. Municipal police forces shall cooperate in maintaining public order and protecting local communities.

Article 238

(Local assets and finances)

  1. Local authorities shall have their own assets and finances.
  2. The law shall establish the local finance regime, which shall seek to ensure that public resources are justly shared between the state and local authorities and the necessary correction of inequalities between local authorities of the same category.
  3. Local authorities' own income shall obligatorily include that derived from the management of their assets and that charged for the use of their services.
  4. Local authorities may have the power of taxation in the cases and under the terms laid down by law.

Article 239

(Decision-making and executive organs)

  1. The organisational structure of local authorities comprises an elected assembly with decision-making powers, and a collegial executive organ that is accountable to the assembly.
  2. Assemblies are elected by universal, direct and secret suffrage of the citizens who are registered to vote in the area of the respective local authority, in accordance with the proportional representation system.
  3. The collegial executive organ shall be composed of an adequate number of members. The first candidate on the list that receives the most votes cast for the assembly or the executive, depending on the solution adopted by law, shall be appointed chairman. The law shall also regulate the electoral process, the requisites for the formation and removal of the collegial executive organ, and its modus operandi.
  4. Nominations for elections to local authority organs may be submitted by political parties, either individually or in coalition, or by groups of registered electors, as laid down by law.

Article 240

(Local referenda)

  1. In the cases, under the terms and with the efficacy laid down by law, local authorities may submit matters that are included in the competences of their organs to referendum the respective registered electors.
  2. The law may attribute the right to initiate referenda to registered electors.

Article 241

(Regulatory power)

Within the limits laid down by the Constitution, the laws, and regulations issued by a higher category of local authority or by the authorities with the power of oversight, local authorities have their own regulatory power.

Article 242

(Administrative oversight)

  1. Administrative oversight of local authorities consists of the verification of the local authority organs' compliance with the law and shall be exercised in the cases and in accordance with the forms laid down by law.
  2. Oversight measures that restrict local autonomy shall be preceded by a opinion from a local authority organ, under terms to be laid down by law.
  3. Local authority organs may only be dissolved on the grounds of serious illegal acts or omissions.

Article 243

(Local authority staff)

  1. Local authorities have their own staff rosters, as laid down by law.
  2. The regime governing state staff and agents is applicable to local government staff and agents, mutatis mutandis, as laid down by law.
  3. Without prejudice to the autonomy of local authorities, the law shall define the forms in which the state provides them with technical support and support in human resources.

CHAPTER II

Parishes

Article 244

(Parish organs)

The representative organs of a parish are the parish assembly and the parish council.

Article 245

(Parish assemblies)

  1. The parish assembly is the parish's decision-making organ.
  2. The law may require that the parish assembly in parishes with a very small population be replaced by the plenary meeting of registered electors.

Article 246

(Parish councils)

The parish council is the parish's collegial executive organ.

Article 247

(Associations)

Parishes may, as laid down by law, form associations to administer common interests.

Article 248

(Delegation of tasks)

Parish assemblies may delegate administrative tasks that do not involve the exercise of powers of authority to residents' organisations.

CHAPTER III

Municipalities

Article 249

(Changes to municipalities)

Municipalities are only created or abolished and their area is only altered by law, following prior consultation of the organs of the local authorities in question.

Article 250

(Municipal organs)

The representative organs of a municipality are the municipal assembly and the municipal council.

Article 251

(Municipal assemblies)

The municipal assembly is the municipality's decision-making organ and is composed of directly elected members and the chairmen of the municipality's parish councils. The number of directly elected members shall be greater than that of the chairmen of the parish councils.

Article 252

(Municipal councils)

The municipal council is the municipality's collegial executive organ.

Article 253

(Associations and federations)

In order to administer common interests, municipalities may form associations and federations, to which the law may grant specific responsibilities and competences.

Article 254

(Share in revenue from direct taxes)

  1. Municipalities shall share in the revenue from direct taxes by right and as laid down by law.
  2. Municipalities shall have their own tax revenues, as laid down by law.

CHAPTER IV

Administrative regions

Article 255

(Creation by law)

The administrative regions shall be created simultaneously by means of a law, which shall define their powers and the composition, competences and modus operandi of their organs and may establish differences between the regime applicable to each administrative region.

Article 256

(De facto institution)

  1. The de facto institution of the administrative regions by means of the passage of the individual laws instituting each one shall depend on the law provided for in the previous Article, and on an affirmative vote by the majority of the registered electors who cast their votes in a direct national ballot covering each of the regional areas.
  2. In the event that in response to the question with a national scope on the de facto institution of the administrative regions, the majority of the registered electors who participate do not pronounce themselves in favour, the answers to questions which are put in relation to each region that is created by the law shall not produce effects.
  3. The consultations of registered electors provided for in the previous paragraphs shall take place under the terms of an organic law and by decision of the President of the Republic, upon a proposal from the Assembly of the Republic. The system derived from Article 115 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 257

(Responsibilities)

Administrative regions are particularly charged with the direction of public departments and services and with tasks involving the coordination and provision of support for the work of the municipalities, with respect for the latter' s autonomy and without limiting their powers.

Article 258

(Planning)

Administrative regions draw up regional plans and take part in the drawing up of national plans.

Article 259

(Regional organs)

The representative organs of an administrative region are the regional assembly and the regional council.

Article 260

(Regional assemblies)

The regional assembly is the region's decision-making organ, and is composed of directly elected members, and by a smaller number of members who are elected in accordance with the proportional representation system and d'Hondt's highest-average rule by an electoral college formed by those members of the same area's municipal assemblies who were appointed by direct election.

Article 261

(Regional councils)

The regional council is the region's collegial executive organ.

Article 262

(Government representatives)

The Council of Ministers may appoint a Government representative to each region. These representatives shall also exercise their competences in relation to the local authorities in the respective area.

CHAPTER V

Residents' organisations

Article 263

(Formation and area)

  1. In order to intensify local people's participation in local administrative life, residents of areas smaller than that of the respective parish may form residents' organisations.
  2. Upon its own initiative, or at the request of residents' committees or a significant number of residents, the parish assembly shall delimit the territorial areas of the organisations referred to in the previous paragraph and shall resolve any conflicts that arise therefrom.

Article 264

(Structure)

  1. The law shall lay down the structure of residents' organisations, which shall comprise a residents' assembly and a residents' committee.
  2. The residents' assembly is composed of the residents registered in the parish census.
  3. The residents' assembly elects the residents' committee by secret ballot, and may dismiss it freely.

Article 265

(Rights and competences)

  1. Residents' organisations have the right:
    • a) To petition local authorities in relation to administrative matters that are of interest to the residents;
    • b) Via their representatives, to participate without vote in the parish assembly.
  2. Residents' organisations have the competence to perform the tasks that the law confers on them or that their parish organs delegate to them.

TITLE IX

Public Administration

Article 266

(Fundamental principles)

  1. The Public Administration shall seek to pursue the public interest, with respect for all those citizens' rights and interests that are protected by law.
  2. Administrative organs and agents are subject to the Constitution and the law, and in the exercise of their functions must act with respect for the principles of equality, proportionality, justice, impartiality and good faith.

Article 267

(Structure of the Administration)

  1. The Public Administration shall be structured in such a way as to avoid bureaucratisation, bring departments and services closer to local people and ensure that interested parties take part in its effective management, particularly via public associations, residents' organisations and other forms of democratic representation.
  2. For the purpose of the previous paragraph and without prejudice to the necessary efficacy and unity of the Administration's work and the management, superintendence and oversight powers of the competent organs, the law shall lay down adequate forms of administrative decentralisation and devolution.
  3. The law may create independent administrative entities.
  4. Public associations may only be formed in order to fulfil specific needs, may not exercise the specific functions of trade unions and shall be organised internally on the basis of respect for their members' rights and the democratic formation of their organs.
  5. The processing of administrative activities shall be the object of a special law, which shall ensure the rationalisation of the resources that are to be used by departments and services, and that citizens participate in the taking of decisions or deliberations that concern them.
  6. Private entities that exercise public powers may be subject to administrative inspection as laid down by law.

Article 268

(Citizens' rights and guarantees)

  1. Citizens have the right to be informed by the Administration, whenever they so request, as to the progress of the procedures and cases in which they are directly interested, together with the right to be made aware of the definitive decisions that are taken in relation to them.
  2. Without prejudice to the law governing matters concerning internal and external security, criminal investigation and personal privacy, citizens also have the right of access to administrative files and records.
  3. Administrative acts are subject to notification of the interested parties in the form laid down by law, and when they affect rights or interests that are protected by law, must be based on express and accessible grounds.
  4. Citizens are guaranteed effective jurisdictional oversight of those of their rights and interests that are protected by law, particularly including the recognition of the said rights and interests, the impugnation of any administrative act that harms their rights and interests, regardless of its form, the issue of positive decisions requiring the practice of administrative acts that are required by law, and the adoption of adequate provisional remedies.
  5. Citizens also have the right to challenge administrative norms which have external force and harm those of their rights or interests that are protected by law.
  6. For the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2) the law shall lay down a maximum time limit for responses by the Administration.

Article 269

(Regime governing the public service)

  1. n the exercise of their functions Public Administration workers and other agents of the state and of other public entities shall exclusively serve the public interest, as defined in accordance with the law by the competent organs of the Administration.
  2. Public Administration workers and other agents of the state and of other public entities may not be prejudiced or benefited as a result of the exercise of any political rights provided for in the Constitution, particularly party political preferences.
  3. Accused persons in disciplinary proceedings are guaranteed the right to be heard and to a defence.
  4. The accumulation of public positions and offices is not permitted, save in the cases that are expressly admitted by law.
  5. The law shall lay down the incompatibilities between the exercise of public positions or offices and that of other activities.

Article 270

(Restrictions on the exercise of rights)

Strictly to the extent required by the specific demands of the respective functions, the law may establish restrictions on the exercise of the rights of expression, meeting, demonstration, association and collective petition by full-time military personnel and militarised agents on active service and agents of the security services and forces, and on their legal capacity to stand for election. In the case of the security forces, even when their right to form trade unions is recognised, the law may preclude the right to strike.

Article 271

(Liability of public sector staff and agents)

  1. The staff and agents of the state and of other public entities are civilly and criminally liable and subject to disciplinary proceedings for their actions and omissions in the exercise of their functions, and for any such exercise that leads to a breach of those citizens' rights or interests that are protected by law, and no phase of any action or proceedings shall be dependent on authorisation by higher authority.
  2. Liability on the part of any public sector member of staff or agent who acts in compliance with orders or instructions issued by a legitimate hierarchical superior legal and in the performance of his duties is excluded, if he previously protested against those orders or instructions or required them to be transmitted or confirmed in writing.
  3. The duty of obedience ceases whenever compliance with orders or instructions would imply the commission of any crime.
  4. The law shall regulate the terms under which the state and other public entities have the right to indemnification by the officeholders of their entities and organs and their staff and agents.

Article 272

(Police)

  1. The functions of the police are to defend democratic legality and guarantee internal security and citizens' rights.
  2. Policing measures shall be those laid down by law and must not be used beyond that which is strictly necessary.
  3. Crime prevention, including that of crimes against state security, may only be undertaken in compliance with the general rules governing policing and with respect for citizens' rights, freedoms and guarantees.
  4. The law shall lay down the regime governing the security forces and each such force shall have a sole organisational structure for the whole of Portuguese territory.

TITLE X

National defence

Article 273

(National defence)

  1. The state is under an obligation to ensure national defence.
  2. The objectives of national defence are to guarantee national independence, territorial integrity and the freedom and security of the population from any external aggression or threat, while respecting the constitutional order, the democratic institutions and international conventions.

Article 274

(Supreme National Defence Council)

  1. The Supreme National Defence Council is chaired by the President of the Republic and shall be composed as laid down by law, to include members elected by the Assembly of the Republic.
  2. The Supreme National Defence Council is the specific consultative organ for matters concerning national defence and the organisation, modus operandi and discipline of the Armed Forces, and may dispose of the administrative competences that are allocated to it by law.

Article 275

(Armed Forces)

  1. The Armed Forces are charged with the military defence of the Republic.
  2. The Armed Forces shall be composed exclusively of Portuguese citizens and shall have a single organisational structure for the whole of Portuguese territory.
  3. The Armed Forces shall obey the competent entities that exercise sovereignty, in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
  4. The Armed Forces serve the Portuguese people and shall be rigorously non-partisan. Their personnel may not take advantage of their weapons, their positions or their functions to intervene politically in any way.
  5. The Armed Forces are charged, as laid down by law, with fulfilling the Portuguese state's international commitments in the military field and taking part in humanitarian and peace missions undertaken by the international organisations to which Portugal belongs.
  6. The Armed Forces may be charged, as laid down by law, with cooperating in civil defence missions, tasks concerning the fulfilment of basic needs and the improvement of people's quality of life, and technical and military cooperation actions within the ambit of the national cooperation policy.
  7. The laws that regulate the state of siege and the state of emergency shall lay down the terms and conditions governing the use of the Armed Forces when such situations arise.

Article 276

(Defence of the nation, military service and civic service)

  1. Every Portuguese has the right and fundamental duty to defend the nation.
  2. Military service shall be regulated by law, which shall lay down the forms, voluntary or compulsory nature, duration and content of the performance thereof.
  3. Citizens who by law are subject to the performance of military service and are considered unfit for armed military service shall perform the unarmed military service or civic service that is appropriate to their situation.
  4. Conscientious objectors to the military service to which they are subject by law shall perform civic service with the same duration and degree of arduousness as those of armed military service.
  5. Civic service may be established as a substitute for or complement to military service and made legally compulsory for citizens who are not subject to military duties.
  6. No citizen may retain or obtain employment with the state or any other public entity if he fails or ceases to perform his military or civic service duties when they are compulsory.
  7. No citizen may be prejudiced in relation to his assignment, social benefits or permanent employment as the result of his performance of military service or compulsory civic service.