Elections in Portugal
Elections in Portugal are free, fair, and regularly held, in accordance with election law.
Only the elections since the Carnation Revolution of 1974 are listed here. During the period encompassing the Constitutional Monarchy and the First Republic there were also elections, but only for a limited universe of voters. During the Estado Novo regime, from 1926 to 1974, the few elections held were not up to the democratic standards of their time and never resulted in power transfer.
Portugal elects on a national level the President and the national Parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. The President is elected for a five-year term by the people while the Parliament has 230 members, elected for a four-year term by proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies, the districts. Also on a national level, Portugal elects 21 members of the European Parliament.
The Autonomous Regions of Azores and Madeira elect their own regional government for a four-year term, usually on the same day. The first regional elections were held in 1976.
2022 legislative election
|Parties||Votes||%||±pp swing||MPs||MPs %/|
|Unitary Democratic Coalition||238,920||4.29||2.0||12||6||6||2.61||2.6||0.61|
|Madeira First (PSD/CDS–PP)[b]||50,636||0.91||0.2||3||3||0||1.30||0.0||1.43|
|Democratic Alliance (PSD/CDS–PP/PPM)[c]||28,330||0.51||0.1||2||2||0||0.87||0.0||1.71|
|React, Include, Recycle||23,233||0.42||0.3||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Portuguese Workers' Communist||11,265||0.20||0.5||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|National Democratic Alternative[d]||10,874||0.20||0.0||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Together for the People||10,786||0.19||0.0||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Socialist Alternative Movement||6,157||0.11||0.0||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|We, the Citizens!||3,880||0.07||0.1||0||0||0||0.00||0.0||0.0|
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|
2021 presidential election
|Candidates||Supporting parties||First round|
|Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa||Social Democratic Party, People's Party||2,531,692||60.66|
|Ana Gomes||People–Animals–Nature, LIVRE||540,823||12.96|
|João Ferreira||Portuguese Communist Party, Ecologist Party "The Greens"||179,764||4.31|
|Marisa Matias||Left Bloc, Socialist Alternative Movement||165,127||3.96|
|Tiago Mayan Gonçalves||Liberal Initiative||134,991||3.23|
|Vitorino Silva||React, Include, Recycle||123,031||2.95|
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|
Election results 1975–2022
|*The 1975 election was for the Constituent Assembly; O/I: Other parties and Invalid/Blank votes.|
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|
Under the Portuguese Constitution adopted in 1976, in the wake of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, the President is elected to a five-year term; there is no limit to the number of terms a president may serve, but a president who serves two consecutive terms may not serve again in the next five years after the second term finishes or in the following five years after his resignation. The official residence of the Portuguese President is the Belém Palace.
The President is elected in a two-round system: if no candidate reaches 50% of the votes during the first round, the two candidates with the most votes face each other in a second round held two weeks later. As of 2021[update], the 1986 presidential election was the only time a Portuguese presidential election was taken into a second round.
The most recent election was held in 2021 and the next is expected to be in 2026.
- 1976 Portuguese local elections
- 1979 Portuguese local elections
- 1982 Portuguese local elections
- 1985 Portuguese local elections
- 1989 Portuguese local elections
- 1993 Portuguese local elections
- 1997 Portuguese local elections
- 2001 Portuguese local elections
- 2005 Portuguese local elections
- 2009 Portuguese local elections
- 2013 Portuguese local elections
- 2017 Portuguese local elections
- 2021 Portuguese local elections
The next local elections are scheduled to be held in September/October 2025.
Autonomous Regions elections
Portugal has two autonomous regions, Azores and Madeira, that elect their own representatives for the regional parliaments every 4 years. The first elections were in 1976 and usually they were both held in the same day until 2007 when Madeira held an early election and Azores held its election the next year. The last election in Azores was in October 2020, and Madeira held an election on September 2019.
European Parliament elections
- European Parliament election, 1987
- European Parliament election, 1989
- European Parliament election, 1994
- European Parliament election, 1999
- European Parliament election, 2004
- European Parliament election, 2009
- European Parliament election, 2014
- European Parliament election, 2019
The Constitution of Portugal defines referendum in Article 115. The referendum is called by the President of Portugal, on a proposal submitted by the Assembly or the Government. The President can refuse a proposal for referendum submitted to him by the Assembly or the Government if it is found to be unconstitutional or illegal. Referendums are binding if turnout is higher than 50% of registered voters.
Citizens of Portugal have the right to submit to the Assembly an initiative for a referendum.
The referendum can be held only on "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" (paragraph 3). The referendum cannot be held on amendments to the Constitution, budget, taxes, finances and competences of the Assembly, except when issue is the object of an international convention, except when the international convention concerns peace or the rectification of borders.
There have been four nationwide referendums in the History of Portugal:
- Constitutional referendum, in 1933
- First abortion referendum, in 1998
- Regionalization referendum, in 1998
- Second abortion referendum, in 2007
The Constitutional referendum of 1933 did not comply with the standards of a democratic suffrage, as, for example, abstentions were counted as supportive votes. It resulted in the establishing of the Estado Novo regime.
The later three referendums, held in the context of a Western-style liberal democracy had turnout less than 50%, so they were not binding. Nonetheless, decisions of all three referendums were honoured.
- Only in mainland Portugal
- In Madeira, the PSD and the CDS–PP contested the elections in a coalition called Madeira First (Madeira Primeiro).
- In Azores, the PSD, the CDS–PP, and the People's Monarchist Party (PPM) contested the elections in a coalition called Democratic Alliance (Aliança Democrática).
- In September 2021, the Democratic Republican Party (PDR) changed its name to the National Democratic Alternative (ADN).
- In July 2020, the National Renovator Party (PNR) changed its name to Rise Up (E).
- PPM list only in Madeira
- Includes votes for candidate Eduardo Baptista.
- In the 1979 and 1980 elections, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Democratic Social Center (CDS) and the People's Monarchist Party (PPM) ran in a joint coalition called Democratic Alliance (AD). In the Madeira and Azores islands, however, the parties ran in separate lists but are added in total sum of the coalition.
- In the 1979 and 1980 elections, the Communist Party (PCP) and the Portuguese Democratic Movement (MDP) ran in a joint coalition called United People Alliance (APU).
- In the 1980 election, the Socialist Party (PS), the Leftwing Union for the Socialist Democracy (UEDS) and the Independent Social Democratic Action (ASDI) ran in a joint coalition called Republican and Socialist Front (FRS). In the Madeira and Azores islands, plus the foreign electoral constituencies, however, the parties ran in separate lists but are added in total sum of the coalition.
- In the 1983 and 1985 elections, the Communist Party (PCP), Portuguese Democratic Movement (MDP) and the Ecologist Party "The Greens" (PEV) ran in a joint coalition called United People Alliance (APU).
- After the 1987 elections, and still today, the Communist Party (PCP) and the Ecologist Party "The Greens" (PEV) run in a joint coalition called Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU).
- The Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the People's Party (CDS–PP) contested the 2015 election in a coalition called Portugal Ahead (PàF) and won a combined 38.6% of the vote and elected 107 MP's to parliament.
- "Portugal". Freedom House. 5 January 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
- DGAI - Reorganização Administrativa do Território das Freguesias - (RATF)
- "Constitution of the Portuguese Republic" (PDF). Assembly of the Republic. 2005. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- "Constitution of Portugal" (PDF). Party Law in Modern Europe. Retrieved 2013-11-05.