Portuguese Constituent Assembly election, 1975

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Portuguese Constituent Assembly election, 1975

← 1973 25 April 1975 1976 →

250 seats to the Portuguese Constituent Assembly
125 seats needed for a majority
Registered 6,231,372
Turnout 5,711,829 (91.7%)

  First party Second party Third party
  Mário Soares 1975b (cropped).jpg Francisco Sá Carneiro (crop).jpg Alvaro Cunhal 1980 (cropped).jpg
Leader Mário Soares Francisco Sá Carneiro Álvaro Cunhal
Party PS PPD PCP
Leader since 19 April 1973 6 May 1974 1961
Leader's seat Lisbon[1] Porto[2] Lisbon
Seats won 116 81 30
Popular vote 2,162,972 1,507,282 711,935
Percentage 37.9% 26.4% 12.5%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Freitas do Amaral, XV Cimeira Ibero-Americana - Salamanca, Espanha.jpg JoseManuelTengarrinha.jpg Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg
Leader Diogo Freitas do Amaral José Manuel Tengarrinha Manuel Serra
Party CDS MDP/CDE FSP
Leader since 19 July 1974 1969
Leader's seat Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon
Seats won 16 5 0
Popular vote 434,879 236,318 66,307
Percentage 7.6% 4.1% 1.2%

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.

Background[edit]

Election posters on the facade of Rossio Station, Lisbon, on the eve of the elections.

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

Electoral system[edit]

The electoral system adopted, set by the electoral law approved on November 15, 1974[6], 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.

Parties[edit]

The major parties involved and the respective leaders:

Opinion polling[edit]

Date Released Polling Firm PS PPD PCP CDS MDP Others Lead
Mar 1975 IPOPE 47.0 21.0 17.0 2.0 4.0 9.0 26.0
Dec 1974 CUF 35.1 27.0 10.8 2.7 24.4 8.1

National summary of votes and seats[edit]

e • d Summary of the 25 April 1975 Constituent Assembly elections results
AR Eleicoes 1975.svg
Parties Votes % MPs MPs %/
votes %
1975 %
Socialist 2,162,972 37.87 116 46.40 1.23
Democratic People's 1,507,282 26.39 81 32.40 1.23
Communist 711,935 12.46 30 12.00 0.96
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
People's Monarchist 32,526 0.57 0 0.00 0.0
Popular Unity 13,138 0.23 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 valid 5,315,064 93.05 250 100.00
Invalid ballots 396,675 6.95
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
Vote share
PS
37.87%
PPD
26.39%
PCP
12.46%
CDS
7.61%
MDP/CDE
4.14%
FSP
1.16%
MES
1.02%
UDP
0.79%
FEC(m-l)
0.58%
PPM
0.57%
Others
0.46%
Blank/Invalid
6.95%
Parliamentary seats
PS
46.40%
PPD
32.40%
PCP
12.00%
CDS
6.40%
MDP/CDE
2.00%
UDP
0.40%
ADIM
0.40%

Distribution by constituency[edit]

e • d Results of the 1975 election of the Portuguese Constituent Assembly by constituency
Constituency % S % S % S % S % S % S % S Total
S
PS PPD PCP CDS MDP/CDE UDP ADIM
Angra do Heroísmo 23.0 - 62.8 2 2.4 - 6.1 - 1.1 - 2
Aveiro 31.8 5 42.9 7 3.2 - 11.1 2 3.9 - 14
Beja 35.6 3 5.3 - 39.0 3 2.2 - 5.5 - 1.4 - 6
Braga 27.4 5 37.7 7 3.7 - 18.0 3 2.9 - - - 15
Bragança 24.7 1 43.0 3 2.7 - 13.5 - 3.7 - - - 4
Castelo Branco 41.5 5 24.3 2 5.6 - 6.4 - 3.9 - 0.8 - 7
Coimbra 43.2 7 27.2 4 5.7 1 4.6 - 4.4 - 12
EvoraÉvora 37.9 3 6.9 - 37.1 2 2.8 - 7.8 - 0.9 - 5
Faro 45.4 6 13.9 1 12.3 1 3.4 - 9.5 1 1.1 - 9
Funchal 19.6 1 61.9 5 1.7 - 10.0 - 1.3 - 6
Guarda 28.2 2 33.3 3 2.9 - 19.5 1 3.6 - 6
Horta 23.0 - 67.6 1 2.4 - 3.1 - 1
Leiria 33.2 5 35.6 5 6.4 - 6.8 1 3.4 - 1.1 - 11
Lisbon 46.0 29 15.0 9 18.9 11 4.8 3 4.1 2 1.7 1 55
Macau 56.4 1 1
Mozambique 41.1 1 1
Ponta Delgada 30.4 1 54.8 2 1.5 - 3.1 - 2.7 - 3
Portalegre 52.4 3 9.9 - 17.5 1 4.0 - 4.5 - 1.2 - 4
Porto 42.6 18 29.4 12 6.7 2 8.9 3 2.6 1 0.6 - 36
Santarém 42.9 8 18.8 3 15.1 2 4.3 - 4.1 - 1.0 - 13
Setúbal 38.2 7 5.7 1 37.8 7 1.6 - 6.0 1 1.3 - 16
Viana do Castelo 24.5 2 36.0 3 3.8 - 14.5 1 7.1 - 6
Vila Real 27.1 2 45.8 4 2.9 - 7.2 - 2.3 - 6
Viseu 21.5 2 43.9 6 2.3 - 17.2 2 4.0 - 10
zEmigration 34.4 - 45.6 1 4.6 - 11.0 - 1
Total 37.9 116 26.4 81 12.5 30 7.6 16 4.1 5 0.8 1 0.0 1 250
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições

Maps[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]