Portuguese Constituent Assembly election, 1975
250 seats to the Portuguese Constituent Assembly
125 seats needed for a majority
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The Portuguese Constituent Assembly election, 1975 was carried out in Portugal on 25 April 1975, exactly one year after the Carnation Revolution. It was the first free election held in Portugal since 1925, and only the seventh free election in all of Portuguese history. Turnout was a record 91.66 percent, which remains (as of 2017) the highest ever in any Portuguese democratic elections (General, Regional, Local or European).
The main aim of the election was the election of a Constituent Assembly, in order to write a new constitution to replace the Estado Novo regime's authoritarian Constitution of 1933 and so this freely-elected parliament had a single-year mandate and no government was based on parliamentary support; the country continued to be governed by a military-civilian provisional administration during the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly.
The election was won by the Socialist Party. The Social Democratic Party (then known as the Democratic People's Party, PPD) was the second-most voted party, defending a project that it would soon abandon, social democratic centrism, the Portuguese "Social-Democracy" becoming the major right-wing party in the country a few years after. The parliament had a large majority of parties defending socialist or "democratic socialist" ideas and the Constitution, approved one year after, reflected such influence. The Portuguese Communist Party achieved a surprisingly low total, considering the overwhelming support in the south of the country and the radical turn to the left of the revolutionary process after the failed fascist coup, one month before.
With the PPD's shift away from the left and towards the right coming after this election, the only right-of-centre party elected was the CDS, which received 7.6 percent of the vote and 16 seats.
The previous parliamentary elections were held on October 28, 1973, still under the authoritarian rule of the Estado Novo (New State). The People's National Action (ANP), the single party of the president of the council Marcelo Caetano had won the all 150 deputies of the National Assembly, with a participation rate of 66.5% of registered.
On April 25, 1974, the Carnation Revolution, initiated by the captains of the Armed Forces Movement (MFA), ended the authoritarian regime established in 1932 by António de Oliveira Salazar. After the revolutionary forces proclaimed victory, the National Salvation Junta, presided by General António de Spínola, takes over the position of Head of State and Government.
With political parties once again legal, the Socialist Party (PS) leader, Mário Soares, and the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) Secretary General, Álvaro Cunhal, return to Portugal less than a week later. In addition, the members of the "liberal wing" of the ANP, favorable to a democratization of the "Estado Novo" before its fall, found the Democratic People's Party (PPD) which claimed to be social democratic.
At the end of three weeks, Spínola takes the oath as President of the Republic, and nominates Adelino da Palma Carlos Prime Minister as the head of the 1st provisional government where civil and military members plus independent, socialists, social democrats and communists were also part of.
As early as July 18, Vasco Gonçalves, a military man seen as very close to the Communist Party, replaces Palma Carlos as head of the government. After this, the first party that doesn't claim to be from the left or the center-left appears, the Democratic and Social Center (CDS), which says to be an advocate to Christian democracy and liberalism.
Barely two and a half months later, after failing to carry out a counter-revolution, Spínola resigns as President of the Republic and is replaced by General Francisco da Costa Gomes, his deputy in the National Salvation Junta. On March 19th 1975, President Costa Gomes officially calls an election to elect members to write a new Constitution.
The electoral system adopted, set by the electoral law approved on November 15, 1974, establishes the election of members of parliament by proportional representation according to the D'Hondt method, known to benefit the parties that come first.
The law fixes the number of one deputy per 25,000 inhabitants and one more per fraction of 12,500. Deputies were elected in twenty-three constituencies, namely the eighteen metropolitan districts, Horta, Ponta Delgada, Angra do Heroísmo, Funchal, Mozambique, Macau, and the rest of the world.
In application of these provisions, 250 seats were to be filled.
The major parties involved and the respective leaders:
- Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), Álvaro Cunhal
- Portuguese Democratic Movement (MDP), José Manuel Tengarrinha
- Socialist Party (PS), Mário Soares
- Democratic People's Party (PPD), Francisco Sá Carneiro
- Democratic and Social Center (CDS), Freitas do Amaral
|Date Released||Polling Firm||PS||PPD||PCP||CDS||MDP||Others||Lead|
National summary of votes and seats
|Democratic and Social Centre||434,879||7.61||16||6.40||0.84|
|Portuguese Democratic Movement||236,318||4.14||5||2.00||0.48|
|People's Socialist Front||66,307||1.16||0||0.00||0.0|
|Movement of Socialist Left||58,248||1.02||0||0.00||0.0|
|People's Democratic Union||44,877||0.79||1||0.40||0.51|
|Communist Electoral Front (Marxist–Leninist)||33,185||0.58||0||0.00||0.0|
|Internationalist Communist League||10,835||0.19||0||0.00||0.0|
|Independent Democratic Association of Macau[A]||1,622||0.03||1||0.40||13.33|
|Democratic Centre of Macau[A]||1,030||0.02||0||0.00||0.0|
|Total (turnout 91.66%)||5,711,829||100.00|
|A Independent Democratic Association of Macau and Democratic Centre of Macau electoral list only in Macau.|
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|
Distribution by constituency
|Angra do Heroísmo||23.0||-||62.8||2||2.4||-||6.1||-||1.1||-||2|
|Viana do Castelo||24.5||2||36.0||3||3.8||-||14.5||1||7.1||-||6|
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|
Most voted political force by municipality.
- Assembleia Constituinte - Deputados por círculo eleitoral
- Assembleia Constituinte - Lista de deputados substituídos Archived 2007-06-10 at the Wayback Machine.
- 25 de Abril de 1974, RTP, retrieved 25 February 2018.
- As primeiras eleições livres, Correio da Manhã, retrieved 25 February 2018.
- Official call of 1975 Constituent Assembly election
- Electoral Law of 1974