The Electoral System
The constitution states that the people exercise
power through universal, equal, direct, secret, and
elections. All citizens over the age of eighteen have the
to vote, and those over the age of twenty-one have the
hold public office, under conditions of equality and
Portuguese citizens are obliged to register to vote, but
itself is voluntary. Freedom of association is guaranteed
defined to include the right to establish or join
parties and "through them to work democratically to give
the will of the people and to organize political power."
Elections for the president's term of five years in
Portugal's semi-presidential system are by popular vote.
candidate fails to receive an absolute majority on the
ballot, a runoff election between the two leading
to be held within two weeks.
Elections for the four-year legislative terms of the
of the Republic are by proportional representation in each
constituency. Portugal uses the d'Hondt method of
representation, which is based on the highest average
favors large parties by awarding them a greater percentage
assembly seats than the percentage of votes they won.
parties are protected in that there is no minimum
votes they must receive to gain a seat in the assembly.
Nonetheless, unless these parties were members of a
they rarely won a seat in the assembly. The d'Hondt method
adopted because it leads to stronger, more stable
countries that are deeply divided and have multiple
Municipal elections, which served as a barometer of
opinion on the national government, are held every four
contrast to national elections, this schedule was
because local governments did not fall. The national
participated in these elections.
Data as of January 1993