President of Portugal

President of Portugal

. IPA2|pɾɨzi'dẽtɨ dɐ ʁɛ'publikɐ)

Under the Portuguese Constitution adopted in 1976 in the wake of the Carnation Revolution of 1974, the President is elected for a five-year term, and may serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms. The official residence of the President of Portugal is Belém Palace.

The President theoretically has wide powers, but most of these are rarely used, following the precedent set by President António Ramalho Eanes (1976-1986) and upheld by his successors, Mário Soares and Jorge Sampaio.

The President has however the discretionary power to dissolve Parliament when he sees fit. President Sampaio unusually used this power in late 2004 to remove the controversial government of Pedro Santana Lopes, despite the absolute majority of MPs supporting the government.

The President is elected, as in France, on a two-round system (if no candidate achieves 50% of the votes on the first round, the two candidates with the most votes face each other in a second round held two weeks later). However, only once, in 1986, was a second round necessary. To date, all elected presidents since the Revolution served the two consecutive terms constitutionally allowed (a president who serves two consecutive terms can run for a third and last, non-consecutive term), and presidents consistently rank as the most popular political figure in the country.

In case the president dies or becomes incapacitated in office, the speaker of Parliament assumes office with restricted powers until a new president can be inaugurated following fresh elections.

Prior to the Carnation Revolution, the powers of the presidency varied widely; some were virtual dictators (such as Pais and Carmona in his early years), while others were little more than figureheads (such as Carmona in his later years, Craveiro Lopes, and Américo Thomaz; in their time, the supreme power was the Prime Minister, António de Oliveira Salazar).

Latest election

ee also

*List of Presidents of Portugal

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