Organization of Political Power

Section I  General Principles
 
Article 111  Source and Exercise of Power
Political power lies with the people and is exercised in accordance with the Constitution.
 
Article 112  Participation by Citizens in Political Life
Direct and active participation by the citizens in political life is a condition and fundamental instrument for consolidation of the democratic system.
 
Article 113  Organs of Supreme Authority
(1) The organs of supreme authority are the President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic, the Government, and the Courts.

(2) The formation, membership, powers, and operation of the organs of supreme authority are governed by the Constitution.
 
Article 114  Separation and Interdependence
(1) The organs of supreme authority are separate and interdependent as established by the Constitution.

(2) No organ of supreme authority, organ of an autonomous region, or organ of local government may delegate its powers to other organs except in the cases and in the conditions expressly laid down in the Constitution and by law.
 
Article 115  Preceptive Acts
(1) Legislative acts comprise laws, decree-laws, and regional legislative decrees.

(2) Laws and decree-laws have the same force, without prejudice to the organic laws having more force, to the decree-laws enacted under legislative authorization being subordinated to the corresponding laws and to the decree-laws developing the general principles of legal systems being also subordinated to the corresponding laws.

(3) Regional legislative decrees deal with matters of specific interest to the concerned region that are not under the exclusive competence of the Assembly of the Republic or the Government; they may not go against the general laws of the Republic save the provisions of Article 229 (1)(b).

(4) The general laws of the Republic comprise laws and decree-laws whose reason for being involves their application without reservation to the whole national territory.

(5) No law may create other categories of legislative acts or grant acts of any other nature the power of interpreting, integrating, altering, suspending, or revoking any of their precepts with external efficacy.

(6) Government regulations take the forms of regulative decrees when this is determined by the law they regulate and in the caseof independent regulations.

(7) The regulations expressly indicate the laws they are meant to regulate or which define the subjective and objective competence for their issue.
 
Article 116  General Principles of Electoral Law
(1) Direct, secret, and regular elections are the general rule in appointing the members of the elected organs of supreme authority, the autonomous regions, and local government.

(2) Registration of electors is compulsory and permanent and does not serve any other purpose.  There is a single registration system for all elections by direct universal suffrage.

(3) Election campaigns must observe the following principles:
  1. Freedom of propaganda;
  2. Equality of opportunity and treatment for the various candidates;
  3. Impartiality towards candidates on the part of public bodies;
  4. Supervision of vote-counting.
(4) Citizens have the duty to collaborate with the elections administration in the forms laid down by law;

(5) Votes cast are converted into effective suffrage in accordance with the principle of proportional representation.

(6) Acts dissolving corporate organs based on direct suffrage set the date of the new elections, to be held in the following ninety days and in accordance with the electoral law in force at the time of dissolution, otherwise the said acts are legally null and void.

(7) The courts are competent to judge the regularity and validity of acts of electoral procedure.
 
Article 117  Political Parties and Right of Opposition
(1) Political parties participate in the organs based on direct universal suffrage in accordance with their electoral representation.

(2) Minorities have the right of democratic opposition on conditions laid down in the Constitution.

(3) The political parties represented in the Assembly of the Republic and not in Government, in particular have the right to be informed regularly and directly by the Government on the progress of the main matters of public interest; the political parties represented in any other assemblies that are designated through direct elections and not represented in the corresponding executive organ enjoy the same right with respect to the latter.
 
Article 118  Referendum
(1) Where the Constitution and the law so provides and in conformity with such provisions, subsequently to a proposal by the Assembly of the Republic or the Government, upon decision of the President of the Republic, the voting citizens enrolled on the national territory may be called upon to express themselves directly and on a mandatory basis.

(2) The subjects of the referendum are only matters of relevant national interest such that the powers to decide them belong to the Assembly of the Republic or the Government by way of approval of an international convention or a legislative act.

(3) The amendments to the Constitution, the matters provided for in Articles 164 and 167, as well as the questions and acts of a budgetary, fiscal, or financial nature, cannot be the subject of a referendum.

(4) Each referendum deals with one single matter; the questions are formulated objectively, clearly, precisely, and in such terms as to require a yes or no answer; the maximum number of questions as well as the other requirements concerning the formulation and the carrying out of the referenda are laid downby law.

(5) Referenda are not called or carried out between the dates when general elections for the organs of supreme authority, for the organs of self-government of the autonomous regions and the local powers, as well as for the European Parliament, are respectively called and carried out.

(6) The President of the Republic submits the proposals for a referendum forwarded to him or her by the Assembly of the Republic or the Government, for preventive mandatory scrutiny of their conformity with the Constitution and the law.

(7) The provisions of Article 116 (1), (2), (3), (4), and (7) apply to the referenda mutatis mutandis.

(8) The proposals for a referendum that are refused by the President of the Republic or the electoral body is not renewable during the same session of the Assembly, unless there is a new election for the Assembly of the Republic or the Government resigns.
 
Article 119  Corporate Organs
(1) Meetings of the assemblies that act as organs of supreme authority, organs of the autonomous regions, or organs of local government are public, except in cases provided for by law.

(2) Decisions by corporate organs are taken when a majority of the statutory number of members is present.

(3) Except in cases set forth in the Constitution, the law, and their own rules, decisions by corporate organs are taken by simple majority without counting abstentions.
 
Article 120  Status of Holders of Political Office
(1) Holders of political office are politically, civilly, and criminally responsible for their acts and omissions in the exercise of their functions.

(2) The law specifies the duties, responsibilities, rights, privileges, and immunities of holders of political office, as well as the cases where holding political office is incompatible with holding certain functions or pursuing certain activities.

(3) The law specifies the offences for which holders of political office are liable as well as the applicable sanctions and their effects; the latter may include dismissal and forfeiture of the mandate.
 
Article 121  Principle of Renewal
No one may hold any national, regional, or local political office for life.
 
Article 122  Publication of Decision
(1) The following are published in the official journal, the 'Diario da Republica':
  1. Constitutional laws;
  2. International conventions, notification of ratifications thereof, and other notifications concerning them;
  3. Laws, decree-laws, and regional legislative decrees;
  4. Decrees of the President of the Republic;
  5. Resolutions of the Assembly of the Republic, and the Regional Assemblies of the Azores and Madeira;
  6. Rules of procedure of the Assembly of the Republic, the Council of State, and the Regional Assemblies of the Azores and Madeira;
  7. Rulings of the Constitutional Court and rulings of other courts which are made binding to all by law;
  8. Regulative decrees and other decrees and regulations of the Government, decrees of the Ministers of the Republic for the autonomous regions and regional regulative decrees;
  9. Results of nation-wide elections and referenda.
(2) Failure to publish the acts mentioned in the previous paragraph or any act of a general nature of the organs ofsovereignty, the autonomous regions or the local authorities, make them null and void.

(3) Forms of publication for other acts, and the consequences of failure to do so, are determined by law.
 
Section II  President of the Republic
 
Chapter I  Status and Election
 
Article 123  Definition
The President of the Republic represents the Portuguese Republic, guarantees national independence, the unity of the State, and the regular functioning of the democratic institutions, and is ex officio Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
 
Article 124  Election
(1) The President of the Republic is elected by direct and secret universal suffrage by the Portuguese citizens who are registered as voters on the national territory.

(2) The right to vote is exercised in person on the national territory.
 
Article 125  Eligibility for Election
Citizens entitled to vote who are Portuguese by origin and more than 35 years of age are eligible for election.
 
Article 126  Re-Election
(1) No one can be re-elected for a third consecutive term of office or during the five years immediately following the end of the second consecutive term of office.

(2) Should the President of the Republic resign his office, he cannot stand as a candidate in the election immediately following nor in those held in the five year period immediately subsequent to his resignation.
 
Article 127  Nominations
(1) Nominations for the office of President of the Republic are sponsored by no less than 7,500 and no more than 15,000 citizens entitled to vote.

(2) Nominations are submitted to the Constitutional Court at least thirty days before the date fixed for the election.

(3) Should a candidate die or should anything happen that incapacitates a candidate to perform the duties of President of the Republic, the election procedure are re-opened in accordance with conditions to be laid down by law.
 
Article 128  Date of Election
(1) The President of the Republic is elected during the period of time that runs between the sixtieth and the thirtieth days before the last day of his predecessor's term of office, or between the sixtieth and the ninetieth days following the day in which the office falls vacant.

(2) The election may not be held within the period of ninety days that precede or follow the date of elections to the Assembly of the Republic.

(3) Where the circumstances mentioned in the preceding paragraph arise, the election must be held during the period of time that runs between the ninetieth and the hundredth days that follow the date of the elections for the Assembly of the Republic; the outgoing President's term of office then is automatically extended for the necessary period of time.

(4) The date of the first in time of the two possible elections is fixed in such a way as to allow both elections to be held within the periods of time mentioned in Paragraphs (1) and (3).
 
Article 129  Election System
(1) A candidate who obtains more than half the votes validly cast is elected President of the Republic.  Blank ballots are not considered as having been validly cast.

(2) If none of the candidates obtains that number of votes, there is a second ballot in the twenty-first day following the date of the first ballot.

(3) Only the two candidates who have obtained most votes and who have not withdrawn stand for election in the second ballot.
 
Article 130  Induction and Swearing-In
(1) The President elect is inducted before the Assembly of the Republic.

(2) The induction takes place on the last day of the term of office of the outgoing President or, in the case of elections after the office has fallen vacant, on the eighth day following publication of the election result.

(3) During his induction the President of the Republic takes the following oath:
"I swear on my honor to perform faithfully the office with which I am invested and to defend, fulfil, and cause to be fulfilled the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic."
 
Article 131  Term of Office
(1) The President of the Republic holds office for five years.  His term of office ends when the newly elected President is inducted.

(2) If the office falls vacant, the President of the Republic subsequently elected begins a new term of office.
 
Article 132  Absence From the National Territory
(1) The President of the Republic may not absent himself from the national territory without the consent of the Assembly of the Republic or of its Standing Committee, should the former not be in session.

(2) Consent is not necessary if the President of the Republic is in transit or on an unofficial journey of not more than five days, although the Assembly of the Republic shall be previously informed of these occurrences.

(3) Failure to comply with Paragraph (1) automatically results in forfeiture of office.
 
Article 133  Criminal Liability
(1) The President of the Republic is answerable before the Supreme Court of Justice for offences committed in the performance of his duties.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Assembly of the Republic to initiate proceedings at the proposal of one fifth and by a decision of two thirds of its members entitled to vote.

(3) Conviction results in dismissal from office and excludes re-election.

(4) The President of the Republic is answerable to the common courts after the end of his term of office for offences not committed in the performance of his duties.
 
Article 134  Resignation
(1) The President of the Republic may resign from office by message addressed to the Assembly of the Republic.

(2) Such resignation takes effect when the message is made known to the Assembly of the Republic, without prejudice to its later publication in the Diano da Republica.
 
Article 135  Acting President
(1) During temporary inabilities to act of the President of the Republic and during vacancies in the office before the induction of the newly elected President, the presidential functions are performed by the President of the Assembly of the Republic or,should he be unable to do so, by his substitute.

(2) While acting as President of the Republic, the mandates of the President of the Assembly of the Republic or his substitute are automatically suspended.
 
Chapter II  Powers
 
Article 136  Powers With Regard to Other Organs
Where other organs are concerned, the President of the Republic has the following powers:

a) To preside over the Council of State;
b) To fix the dates of the elections of the President of the Republic, for the Assembly of the Republic, for the European Parliament, and for the Regional Assemblies, in conformity with the electoral law;
c) To convene extraordinary sessions of the Assembly of the Republic;
d) To address messages to the Assembly of the Republic;
e) To dissolve the Assembly of the Republic in compliance with the provisions of Article 175 and after having heard the parties represented in the Assembly and the Council of State;
f) To appoint the Prime Minister in accordance with Article 190 (1);
g) To dismiss the Government in accordance with Article 198 (2) and relieve the Prime Minister of his or her post in accordance with Article 189 (4);
h) To appoint members of the Government and relieve them of their posts at the proposal of the Prime Minister;
i) To preside over the Council of Ministers when the Prime Minister so requests;
j) To dissolve the organs of self-government of the autonomous regions, on his own initiative or at the proposal of the Government, after having heard the Assembly of the Republic and the Council of State;
l) To appoint and relieve of their posts the Ministers for the Republic for the autonomous regions, at the proposal of the Government and after having heard the Council of State;
m) To appoint and relieve of their posts, at the proposal of the Government, the president of the Court of Audit and the Attorney-General;
n) To appoint five of the members of the Council of State and two of the members of the Higher Council of the Bench;
o) To preside over the Higher Council of National Defence;
p) To appoint and relieve of their posts, at the proposal of the Government, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, if any, and the Chiefs of Staff of the three services of the Armed Forces, after having heard, in the two latter cases, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.
 
Article 137  Powers With Regard to Office
The President of the Republic has the following powers:

a) To act as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces;
b) To promulgate and order publication of laws, decree-laws, and regulative decrees as well as to sign the resolutions of the Assembly of the Republic that approve international agreements and other decrees of the Government;
c) To submit matters of relevant national interests to a referendum, in accordance with the provisions of Article 118;
d) To declare a state of siege or a state of emergency, in conformity with the provisions of Articles 19 and 141;
e) To speak out on all serious emergencies in the life of the Republic;
f) To grant pardons and commute sentences, after having heard the Government;
g) To request the Constitutional Court to examine preventively whether the provisions of laws, decree-laws, and international conventions are in conformity with the Constitution;
h) To request the Constitutional Court to rule that given legal provisions are contrary to the Constitution or that the Constitution was violated by way of omission;
i) To perform acts concerning the territory of Macao as laid down in the statute pertaining to the latter;
j) To award decorations in accordance with the law and to act as grand-master of the Portuguese honorary orders.
 
Article 138  Powers in International Relations
The President of the Republic is competent in international relations to:

a) Appoint ambassadors and envoys extraordinary at the proposal of the Government, and accept the credentials of foreign diplomatic representatives;
b) Ratify international treaties once they have been duly approved;
c) Declare war in the case of actual or Imminent aggression and make peace, at the proposal of the Government, after hearing the Council of State and having obtained the authorization of the Assembly of the Republic or, when the latter is not in session and it is impossible to call it into session at once, of its Standing Committee.
 
Article 139  Promulgation and Veto
(1) Within twenty days of having received any decree of the Assembly of the Republic for the purpose of promulgation as a law, or of the date of publication of a ruling of the Constitutional Court to the effect that none of the provisions of the decree under consideration violate the Constitution, the President of the Republic either promulgates it or exercises his or her right of veto; exercise of the latter is by way of a substantiated message requesting re-examination of the text.

(2) If the Assembly of the Republic confirms its vote by an absolute majority of its members entitled to vote, the President of the Republic has to promulgate the instrument within eight days of its receipt.

(3) A two thirds' majority of the Members present, where that majority is larger than the absolute majority of the Members entitled to vote, nevertheless is required in order to confirm decrees that take the form of an organic law as well as decrees concerning the following matters:
  1. External relations;
  2. Borders between the public, the private and the cooperative and social sectors pertaining to the property of the means of production;
  3. Regulations on the elections for the European Parliament or on any other electoral acts provided for in the Constitution.
(4) Within forty days of having received any decree of the Government for the purpose of promulgation or of the date of publication of a ruling of the Constitutional Court to the effect that none of the provisions of the decree under consideration violate the Constitution, the President of the Republic either promulgates it or exercises his or her right of veto; exercise of the latter is by way of written communication addressed to the Government and containing the reasons for the veto.

(5) The President of the Republic also exercises his right to veto under the conditions laid down in Articles 278 and 279.
 
Article 140  Failure to Promulgate or Sign
The failure of the President of the Republic to sign any of the measures mentioned in Article 137 (b) makes them null and void.
 
Article 141  Declaration of a State of Siege or Emergency
(1) A state of siege or emergency may not be declared without previously consulting the Government and obtained authorization from the Assembly of the Republic or, when the latter is not in session and it is impossible to call it into session at once, from its Standing Committee.

(2) When authorized by the Standing Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, the declaration of a state of siege or emergency has to be ratified by the plenum as soon as it is possible for the latter to meet.
 
Article 142  Powers of the President of the Republic ad interim
(1) The President of the Republic ad interim does not have the powers to perform any of the acts provided for in Articles 136 (e) and (n) and 137 (c).

(2) The President of the Republic ad interim can perform any of the acts provided for in Articles 136 (b), (c), (t), (m), and (p), 137 (a), and 138 (a) only after having heard the Council of State.
 
Article 143  Ministerial Counter-Signature
(1) Acts of the President of the Republic performed under the provisions of Articles 136 (h), (j), (l), (m), and (o), 137 (b), (d) and (f), and 138 (a), (b) and (c) must be countersigned by the Government.

(2) Absence of counter-signature makes the act null and void.
 
Chapter III  Council of State
 
Article 144  Definition
The Council of State is the political advisory body of the President of the Republic.
 
Article 145  Membership
The Council of State is presided over by the President of the Republic and comprises the following members:

a) The President of the Assembly of the Republic;
b) The Prime Minister;
c) The President of the Constitutional Court;
d) The Ombudsman;
e) The Chairmen of the regional governments;
f) The former presidents of the Republic elected under the Constitution and who were not removed from office;
g) Five citizens appointed by the President of the Republic for the period corresponding to his term of office;
h) Five citizens elected by the Assembly of the Republic in accordance with the principle of proportional representation for the period corresponding to the duration of the legislative period.
 
Article 146  Induction and Term of Office
(1) The members of the Council of State are inducted by the President of the Republic.

(2) The Members of the Council of State mentioned in Article 145 (a) to (e) perform their duties as long as they hold the respective offices.

(3) The members of the Council of State mentioned in Article 145 (g) and (h) continue to perform their duties until the induction of those replacing them in the respective offices.
 
Article 147  Organization and Functioning
(1) It is the duty of the Council of State to draw up its own rules of procedure.

(2) The meetings of the Council of State are not public.
 
Article 148  Powers
The Council of State has the powers to:

a) State its opinion on the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic and the organs of self-government of the autonomous regions;
b) State its opinion on the dismissal of the Government under the circumstances mentioned in Article 198 (2);
c) State its opinion on the appointment and dismissal of the Ministers for the Republic for the autonomous regions;
d) State its opinion on declaration of war or the making of peace;
e) State its opinion on the acts of the President of the Republic ad interim mentioned in Article 142;
f) State its opinion on all other cases provided for in the Constitution and, in general, advise the President of the Republic on the exercise of his or her functions upon request of the latter.
 
Article 149  Giving of Opinions
The opinions of the Council of State mentioned in Article 148 (a) to (e) are to be given at the meeting called for the purpose by the President of the Republic and made public at the time the acts they refer to are performed.
 
Section III  Assembly of the Republic
 
Chapter I  Status and Election
 
Article 150  Definition
The Assembly of the Republic is the representative assembly of all Portuguese citizens.
 
Article 151  Number of Members
The Assembly of the Republic has at least 230 and at most 235 Members, in conformity with the electoral law.
 
Article 152  Constituencies
(1) Members are elected by constituencies; the law lays down the geographical limits of the latter; it may provide for a single nation-wide constituency.

(2) The number of Members apportioned to each constituency are proportional to the number of voters enrolled in the electoral register of that constituency, save where a nation-wide constituency is provided for.

(3) Members represent the whole country, not the constituencies for which they were elected.
 
Article 153  Conditions for Standing for Election
Portuguese citizens entitled to vote may stand for election, subject to the restrictions to be laid down by electoral law with regard to incompatible local functions or the holding of certain offices.
 
Article 154  Nominations
(1) Nominations are presented as provided by law, by the political parties either separately or in combination.  The lists may include citizens who are not members of the parties concerned.

(2) No one may stand for more than one electoral district or have his name in more than one list.
 
Article 155  System of Election
(1) Members of the Assembly are elected by the system of proportional representation according to the Hondt highest average method.

(2) The conversion of votes cast into effective suffrages is not limited by law through any requirements as to a minimumnational percentage of the votes.
 
Article 156  Beginning and End of Term of Office
(1) The term of office of members starts with the first meeting of the Assembly of the Republic after an election and ends with the first meeting after the subsequent election, without prejudice to the suspension or individual cessation of mandates.

(2) The filling of Assembly seats that fall vacant and the temporary replacement of members, where good cause exists for doing so, is regulated by electoral law.
 
Article 157  Cases of Incompatibility
(1) A member of the Assembly who is appointed a member of the Government may not exercise his mandate while the said appointment is in force.  His place is temporarily filled as provided in the foregoing article.

(2) The law determines other cases of incompatibility.
 
Article 158  Performance of Members' Duties
(1) Members are secured suitable conditions for performing efficiently their duties, in particular for the indispensable contact with voters.

(2) The circumstances under which the absence of Members from official acts or activities unconnected with the Assembly, because of meetings of the Assembly or missions on its behalf, constitute a valid reason for the adjournment of such acts or activities, are laid down by law.

(3) Public entities have the duty, in accordance with the law, to cooperate with Members where the latter perform their duties.
 
Article 159  Prerogatives of Members
Members have the following prerogatives:

a) To table proposals for constitutional amendments;
b) To table private members bills, motions for resolutions, and draft decisions;
c) To put questions to the Government concerning any of the latter's acts or any act of the Public Administration and to receive answer within a reasonable delay, without prejudice to what the law lays down on the subject of State secrecy;
d) To request and to obtain, from the Government or from the organs of any public body, such data, information, and publications as they may consider useful for the fulfillment of their mandates;
e) To request the setting up of parliamentary committees of enquiry;
f) Such prerogatives as are written down in the Rules of Proced
ure of the Assembly.
 
Article 160  Immunities
(1) Members of the Assembly have no civil, criminal, or disciplinary liability for the votes they cast and the opinions they express in the performance of their duties.

(2) Members may not be detained or arrested without the Assembly's consent, except when taken in flagrante delicto for an offence punishable with a prison sentence of over three years.

(3) Where criminal proceedings are taken against a Member and the latter is formally charged or indicted, the Assembly decides whether or not he or she is suspended for the purpose of allowing the proceedings to carry on, except where the offence at stake is punishable with the sentence mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
 
Article 161  Rights and Privileges
(1) Members of the Assembly may not, without the Assembly's authorization, act as jurymen, experts, or witnesses while theAssembly is in session.

(2) Members of the Assembly enjoy the following rights and privileges:
  1. Deferment of military service, civic service, or civil defence service;
  2. Free passage and the right to a special passport for their official journeys abroad;
  3. A special identity card;
  4. Allowances as laid down by law.
Article 162  Duties
Members of the Assembly shall have the following duties:

a) To attend plenary sittings of the Assembly and meetings of those committees to which they belong;
b) To discharge their responsibilities in the Assembly and perform the functions to which they are appointed on proposals by their respective parliamentary groups;
c) To take part in votes.
 
Article 163  Forfeiture and Renunciation of Mandates
(1) A member of the Assembly forfeits his mandate if he:
  1. Becomes subject to any of the disabilities or incompatibilities provided by law;
  2. Fails to take his seat in the Assembly or exceeds the number of absences provided for in the Rules of Procedure;
  3. Joins a party other than one that presented him for election;
  4. Is convicted by a court of participation in any organization with a fascist ideology.
(2) A member of the Assembly may renounce his mandate by written declaration.
 
Chapter II  Powers
 
Article 164  Political and Legislative Powers
The Assembly of the Republic shall have the following powers:

a) To adopt amendments to the Constitution, in conformity with the provisions of Articles 284 and 289;
b) To approve the political and administrative statutes of the autonomous regions;
c) To approve the statute of the territory of Macao;
d) To enact legislation on any subject except for those that the Constitution reserves to the Government;
e) To authorize the Government to enact legislation;
f) To authorize the regional legislative assemblies as provided in Article 229 (b);
g) To grant amnesties and general pardons;
h) To adopt the laws concerning the major options for the plans and the Budget of the State;
i) To authorize the Government to raise and grant loans and engage in other credit obtaining operations not involving the floating debt, to lay down the general conditions thereof and to fix the maximum level of consolidated security afforded each year by the Government for credit to the benefit of third parties;
j) To approve international conventions on matters falling within its exclusive legislative powers, treaties involving Portugal's participation in international organizations, treaties of friendship, peace treaties, defence treaties, treaties rectifying frontiers, treaties concerning military matters, and any other treaties which the Government submits to it;
k) To propose to the President of the Republic to submit any question of relevant national interest to a referendum;
l) ........}
m) To authorize the declaration of a state of siege or the declaration of a state of emergency and to confirm any such declaration;
n) To authorize the President of the Republic to declare war and make peace;
o) To carry out other duties entrusted to it by the Constitution and the law.
 
Article 165  Supervisory Powers
The Assembly of the Republic has the following supervisory powers:

a) To watch over observance of the Constitution and the laws and to scrutinise the acts of the Government and the Administration;
b) To scrutinise the implementation of declarations of a state of siege or emergency;
c) To scrutinise the decree-laws, except those issued in the exercise of the Government's exclusive legislative powers, and the regional legislative decrees provided for in Article 229 (1)(b), for the purpose of refusal of ratification or amendment;
d) To receive the accounts of the State and other public bodies indicated in the law; they shall be submitted not later than 31 December of the subsequent year, accompanied by the Court of Audit's report, if prepared, and any other information necessary for their being scrutinised;
e) To scrutinise the annual progress report and the final implementation report concerning the plans.
 
Article 166  Powers With Respect to Other Organs
With respect to other organs, the Assembly of the Republic has the following powers:

a) To witness the introduction of the President of the Republic;
b) To consent to the absence of the President of the Republic from the national territory;
c) To bring proceedings against the President of the Republic for offences committed in the performance of the latter's duties and to decide on the suspension of members of the Government where the circumstances mentioned in Article 199 occur;
d) To examine the program of the Government;
e) To pass motions of confidence in and censure of the Government;
f) To give an opinion on the dissolution of the organs of self-government of the autonomous regions;
g) To elect according to the system of proportional representation five members of the Council of State, five members of the High Authority for the Mass Media, as well as the members of the Higher Council of the Public Prosecution that it is empowered to appoint;
h) To elect by a two-thirds majority of the Members present where that majority is larger than the absolute majority of the Members entitled to vote, ten judges of the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman, the president of the Economic and Social Council, seven members of the Higher Council of the Bench, as well as the members of other constitutional organs that it is empowered to appoint.
 
Article 167  Exclusive Legislative Powers
The Assembly of the Republic has exclusive legislative powers with respect to the following matters:

a) Election of persons to hold office in the organs of supreme authority;
b) Referendum;
c) Organization, functioning, and procedures of the Constitutional Court;
d) Organization of the national defence, determination of the duties to which it gives rise, as well as general foundations of the organization, functioning, and discipline of the Armed Forces;
e) State of siege and state of emergency;
f) Acquisition, loss, and re-acquisition of Portuguese citizenship;
g) Determination of the limits of territorial waters, of the exclusive economic zone, and of the rights of Portugal to the adjacent sea beds;
h) Political parties and associations;
i) Foundations of the educational system;
j) Election of members of the organs of self-government of the autonomous regions and of the local authorities, as well as of the other constitutional organs and organs elected by way of direct and universal elections;
l) Status of members of the organs of supreme authority and of local authorities, as well as of the other constitutional organs and organs elected by way of direct and universal elections;
m) Giving military courts jurisdiction over deliberate offences that may be considered to amount to essentially military offences in accordance with the provisions of Article 215 (2);
n) Setting up, abolishing, and changing the territorial limits of local authorities;
o) Direct consultation of the electorate at local level;
p) Restriction on the exercise of rights by the permanent cadre of the military and the militarized personnel on active service.
 
Article 168  Relatively Reserved Legislative Powers
(1) The Assembly of the Republic has exclusive legislative powers with respect to the following matters, save where the Government has been authorized to the same effect:
  1. The status and capacity of persons;
  2. Rights, freedoms, and safeguards;
  3. Definition of offences, sanctions, security measures and their grounds, as well as criminal procedure;
  4. General system governing the punishment of disciplinary offences and regulatory offences, as well as the procedure applicable;
  5. Rules governing requisition and expropriation for public purposes;
  6. Foundations of the social security system and the national health service;
  7. Foundation of the system for protection of the nature, the ecological balance, and the cultural heritage;
  8. Rules governing the lease of rural and urban property;
  9. Tax creation and the fiscal system;
  10. Determination of sectors with respect to the ownership of the means of production, including the basic sectors in which private businesses and other entities alike shall not operate;
  11. Ways and means of intervention with expropriation, nationalization, and privatization of the means of production and land for public purposes, as well as the criteria for determining compensation in such cases;
  12. Planning system and membership of the Economic and Social Council;
  13. Foundations of the agricultural policy, including the determination of the higher and lower limits for the size of the private farms;
  14. Monetary system and the standards for weights and measures;
  15. Rules governing the preparation and organization of the budgets of the State, the autonomous regions and the local authorities:
  16. Organization and powers of the courts, the Public Prosecutors and the non-jurisdictional conflict solving entities, as well as status of judges and prosecutors;
  17. Rules governing intelligence services and State secrecy;
  18. Rules governing the local authorities, including theirfinances;
  19. Participation of neighborhood organizations in the exercise of local power;
  20. Public associations, individual safeguards against the Administration, and civil liability of the Administration;
  21. Foundations of the rules governing the civil service and sphere of the latter;
  22. Foundation of the rules governing state-owned enterprises;
  23. Determination of and rules governing property in the public domain;
  24. Rules concerning the means of production that are part of the co-operative and social property sector.
(2) The laws granting authorization to legislate determine the subject, the guiding line, and the scope of the authorization, as well as its duration; the latter may be extended.

(3) Authorizations to legislate may not be used more than once, but may be used in stages.

(4) Authorizations lapse when the Government to which they were granted ceases to hold office, when the legislative period ends or when the Assembly is dissolved.

(5) The provisions of this Article apply to the authorizations granted to the Government within the Budget act; authorizations concerning fiscal matters do not lapse until the end of the financial year to which they refer.
 
Article 169  Form of the Acts
(1) The acts provided for in Article 164 (a) take the form of constitutional laws.

(2) The acts provided for in Article 167 (a) to (e) take the form of organic laws.

(3) The acts provided for in Article 164 (b) to (i) and (m) take the form of laws.

(4) The acts provided for in Article 166 (d) and (e) take the form of motions.

(5) The other acts of the Assembly of the Republic, as well as the acts of the Standing Committee that are provided for in Article 182 (3) (e) and (f) take the form of resolutions.

(6) Resolutions are published irrespective of promulgation.
 
Article 170  Legislative and Referendum Initiative
(1) Power to initiate legislation and to propose referenda lies with the Members, the parliamentary groups and the Government; with respect to the autonomous regions, power to initiate legislation lies with their respective regional legislative assemblies.

(2) The Members, the parliamentary groups, and the regional legislative assemblies may not table bills or move amendments involving in the financial year running any increase in State expenditure, or any reduction in State revenue, allowed in the Budget.

(3) The Members and the parliamentary groups may not propose referenda involving in the financial year running any increase in State expenditure, or any reduction in State revenue, allowed in the Budget.

(4) Bills and proposals for referenda, once rejected in a final way, cannot be reintroduced during the same legislative session, save where a new Assembly is elected.

(5) Bills and proposals for referenda not submitted to a vote during the legislative session in which they were tabled, need not be reintroduced during the following legislative session, save where the legislative period comes to an end.

(6) Bills tabled by the Government and Government proposals for referenda lapse with the resignation of the latter.

(7) Bills presented by the regional legislative assemblies lapse when their respective legislative periods come to an end; where, however, they had already at that time passed the first reading,they do not lapse before the end of the legislative period of the Assembly of the Republic.

(8) The parliamentary committees are entitled to submit alternative texts, without prejudice to the unwithdrawn original bills or proposals for referendum to which the former refer.
 
Article 171  Discussion and Voting
(1) Discussion of bills include two readings.

(2) Voting includes voting on first reading, voting on second reading, and a final, global vote.

(3) Where the Assembly so decides, the texts approved on first reading is submitted to the committees for a vote on second reading, without prejudice to avocation by the Assembly and to the latter's final vote for global approval.

(4) The bills on matters provided for in Articles 167 (a) to (f), (h), (n) and (o) and 168 (1)(s) are voted on second reading by the plenary meeting of the Assembly.

(5) The organic laws can be approved in the final and global vote only by the absolute majority of the Members entitled to vote.

(6) The provisions governing in laws the matters mentioned in Articles 152 (1) and (2) and 167 (o) can be approved only by a two-thirds majority of the Members present where that majority is larger than the absolute majority of the Members entitled to vote.
 
Article 172  Ratification of Decree-Laws
(1) At the request of ten Members, decree-laws that were not approved in the exercise of the Government's exclusive legislative powers, are submitted to one of the first ten plenary meetings of the Assembly of the Republic following their publication, for the purpose of introducing amendments or refusing ratification.

(2) Once requested the discussion of a decree-law that was prepared in the exercise of legislative authorization, where proposals for amendment are tabled, the Assembiy is entitled to stay its execution, wholly or partly, until publication of the law that will change it or until the proposals above-mentioned are rejected.

(3) The stay of execution lapses as soon as the Assembly has held ten plenary meetings without having taken a final decision on the ratification.

(4) Where ratification is refused, the decree-law ceases to be in force as from the date of the publication of the resolution in the Diario da Republica; it is not published again in the course of the same legislative session.

(5) Once requested, the discussion of a decree-law, if the Assembly has not taken a decision thereupon or, having decided to introduce amendments, has not voted a law to that effect, before the end of the on-going legislative session and after having held fifteen plenary meetings, the ratification procedure lapses.
 
Article 173  Urgency Procedure
(1) At the request of any Member, parliamentary group, or the Government, the Assembly of the Republic is entitled to give urgency to the procedure for passing any bill or motion for a resolution.

(2) At the request of the regional legislative assemblies of the Azores and Madeira, the Assembly is also entitled to give urgency to the procedure for passing any bill submitted by any of the latter.
 
Chapter III  Organization and Working
 
Article 174  Legislative Period
(1) Each legislative period has at last four legislative sessions.

(2) In the case of dissolution, the Assembly then elected starts a new legislative period, the length of which initially is increased by the time needed to complete the legislative session under way at the date of the election.
 
Article 175  Dissolution
(1) The Assembly of the Republic cannot be dissolved in the six months subsequent to its election, during the last half year of the term of office of the President of the Republic, or during a state of siege or emergency.

(2) In case of failure to observe the foregoing paragraph, the decree of dissolution is null and void.

(3) The dissolution of the Assembly does not affect the mandates of its members or the powers of the Standing Committee until the first sitting of the Assembly after subsequent election.
 
Article 176  Sitting Following Election
(1) The Assembly of the Republic meets as a matter of law on the third day after the final results of the election are known or, in the case of an election that takes place because of the end of a legislative period but is held on a day before the end of the said period, on the first day of the subsequent period.

(2) If that date falls outside the effective period of functioning of the Assembly, the latter meets to give effect to Article 178.
 
Article 177  Legislative Session, Period of Functioning and Convening of the Assembly
(1) The legislative session lasts for one year starting on 15 October.

(2) The normal period of functioning of the Assembly runs from 15 October to 15 June, without prejudice to any suspensions that the Assembly may decide by a two-thirds majority of the members present.

(3) Outside the period indicated in the foregoing paragraph, the Assembly may sit by a decision of the Plenum to extend the normal period of functioning, at the initiative of the Standing Committee, or, if this is impossible and in case of grave emergency, at the initiative of over half the members of the Assembly.

(4) Extraordinary sessions of the Assembly may be convened by the President of the Republic to deal with specific business.

(5) Where the Assembly so decides in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph (2), the committees are entitled to work irrespective of the work of the Plenum.
 
Article 178  Internal Powers of the Assembly
The Assembly of the Republic is competent to:

a) Draw up and approve its Rules of Procedure in accordance with the Constitution;
b) Elect by an absolute majority of the members entitled to vote its President and other officers, the four Vice-Presidents being elected at the proposal of the four largest parliamentary groups;
c) Constitute the Standing Committee and other committees.
 
Article 179  Agenda of the Plenary Meetings
(1) The agenda is drawn up by the President of the Assembly of the Republic in accordance with the order of priorities laid down in the rules of procedure, without prejudice to the right of appeal to the Plenum of the Assembly and the President of the Republic's powers provided in Article 177 (4).

(2) The Government may request priority for matters of national interest requiring urgent settlement.

(3) All the parliamentary groups are entitled to draw up the Agenda of a certain number of meetings according to criteria tobe laid down in the rules of procedure and with due respect for the position of minority parties and parties not represented in the Government.
 
Article 180  Attendance by Members of the Government at Plenary Sittings
(1) Ministers have the right to attend plenary sittings of the Assembly and may be assisted or replaced by Secretaries of State, both being entitled to speak, as provided in the Rules of Procedure
.
(2) Sittings are fixed at which members of the Government have to be present to answer oral or written questions or requests for information by members of the Assembly.  These sittings are held at the minimum intervals laid down in the Rules of Procedure and on dates to be fixed by agreement with the Government.

(3) The committees may request members of the Government to take part in their work.
 
Article 181  Committees
(1) The Assembly of the Republic has the committees provided for in its Rules of Procedure and may establish committees of enquiry or committees for any other specific purpose.

(2) The composition of the committees corresponds to the representation of the parties in the Assembly of the Republic.

(3) Petitions addressed to the Assembly are examined by the committees or by an ad hoc committee which may seek the opinion of the committees that are competent in the field under consideration: in any event, the committees may require any citizen to give evidence before them.

(4) Without prejudice to their constitution in accordance with general rules, parliamentary committees of enquiry are compulsorily set up whenever so requested by one-fifth of the members of the Assembly entitled to vote, up to the limit of one per member and per legislative session.

(5) Parliamentary committees of enquiry have such powers of investigation as have the judicial authorities.

(6) The chairs of the committees in general are apportioned to the parliamentary groups proportionately to the number of their respective members.
 
Article 182  Standing Committee
(1) The Assembly's Standing Committee functions when the Assembly is not in session, where it is dissolved, and in any other circumstances provided for in the Constitution.

(2) The Standing Committee is chaired by the President of the Assembly; its members are the Vice-Presidents of the Assembly and members appointed by all the parties proportionately to the number of their respective members.

(3) The Standing Committee has the following powers:
  1. To follow the activities of the Government and the administration;
  2. To use the powers of the Assembly concerning the term of office of members;
  3. To convene the Assembly where this is necessary;
  4. To prepare the opening of the Assembly's sessions;
  5. To authorize the President of the Republic to leave the national territory;
  6. To authorize the President of the Republic to declare the state of siege or emergency, to declare war, and to make peace.
Article 183  Parliamentary Groups
(1) Members elected for the same party or the same alliance of parties are entitled to set up a parliamentary group.

(2) Parliamentary groups have the following rights:
  1. To participate in the Assembly's committees proportionately to the number of its members and to nominate itsrepresentatives;
  2. To be heard with regard to the adoption of the agenda and to appeal to the Plenum against the agenda adopted;
  3. To initiate in each legislative session two discussions on matters of general or sectorial policy, by way of questioning the Government;
  4. To request the Standing Committee to have the Assembly convened;
  5. ) To request the setting up of parliamentary committees of enquiry;
  6. To initiate legislation;
  7. To submit motions for the rejection of the Government's program;
  8. To submit motions of censure on the Government;
  9. To be regularly and directly informed by the Government on the progress of the major matters of public interest.
(3) Each parliamentary group is entitled to a place of work at the seat of the Assembly and to technical and administrative staff in whom it has confidence, on conditions to be laid down by law.
 
Article 184  Officials and Specialists Serving the Assembly
The work of the Assembly and its committees is assisted by a permanent staff of technical and administrative officials and by specialists appointed or temporarily employed, in whatever numbers the President shall consider necessary.
 
Section IV  Government
 
Chapter I  Function and Structure
 
Article 185  Definition
The Government  is the organ for conduct of the country's general policy and the highest organ of public administration.
 
Article 186  Composition
(1) The Government comprises the Prime Minister, the other Ministers, and the State Secretaries and Under-Secretaries.

(2) The Government may include one or more Deputy Prime Ministers.

(3) The number of Ministries and State Secretariats, their titles and powers, and the forms of coordination between them are laid down in the order appointing the holders of the respective offices or by legislative order, as the case may be.
 
Article 187  Council of Ministers
(1) The Council of Ministers comprises the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers, if any, and the other Ministers.

(2) Councils of specialized ministers may be established by law for particular subjects.

(3) The State Secretaries and Under-Secretaries may be called to meetings of the Council of Ministers.
 
Article 188  Temporary Replacement of Members of the Government
(1) If there is no Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister's place is taken in his absence or inability to act by the Minister whom he designates to the President of the Republic or, in the absence of such designation, by the Minister whom the President of the Republic appoints for the purpose.

(2) Each Minister's place is taken in his absence or inability to act by the State Secretary whom he designates to the Prime Minister or, in the absence of such designation, by the member of the Government whom the Prime Minister appoints for the purpose.
 
Article 189  Commencement and Cessation of Functions
(1) The Prime Minister commences office when he is inducted and he ceases to hold office when he is relieved of his post by the President of the Republic.

(2) Any other member of the Government commences office when he is inducted and ceases to hold office when he or the Prime Minister is relieved of his post.

(3) State Secretaries and Under-Secretaries also cease to hold office when their respective Minister is relieved of his post.

(4) In case of resignation of the Government. the Prime Minister of the outgoing Government is relieved of his post on the date of appointment and induction of the new Prime Minister.

(5) Before its program has been judged by the Assembly of the Republic or after its dismissal, the Government has to limit itself to those acts which are strictly necessary to ensure the management of public business.
 
Chapter II  Formation and Responsibility
 
Article 190  Formation
(1) The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic after consultation with the parties represented in the Assembly of the Republic, due regard being given to the election results.

(2) The remaining members of the Government are appointed by the President of the Republic on the proposal of the Prime Minister.
 
Article 191  Program
The Government's program sets forth the principal political orientations and measures to be adopted or to be proposed in the various fields of governmental activity.
 
Article 192  Collective Responsibility
The members of the Government are bound by its program and by the decisions taken in the Council of Ministers.
 
Article 193  Responsibility of the Government
The Government is responsible for its actions to the President of the Republic and the Assembly of the Republic.
 
Article 194  Responsibility of Members of the Government
(1) The Prime Minister is politically responsible to the President of the Republic and, in the context of the Government's political responsibility, to the Assembly of the Republic.

(2) The Deputy Prime Ministers and other Ministers are responsible to the Prime Minister and, in the context of the Government's political responsibility, to the Assembly of the Republic.

(3) Each State Secretary and Under-Secretary is responsible to the Prime Minister and to his own Minister.
 
Article 195  Scrutiny of the Government's Program by the Assembly of the Republic
(1) The Government's program has to be presented to the Assembly of the Republic for scrutiny, by means of a statement by the Prime Minister, within not more than ten days of his appointment.

(2) If the Assembly of the Republic is not in session, it is required to be convened for this purpose by its President.

(3) The debate may not exceed three days, and until it is closed, any parliamentary group may propose rejection of the program and the Government may request approval of a vote of confidence.

(4) Rejection of the Government's program requires an absolute majority of members of the Assembly entitled to vote.
 
Article 196  Request for Vote of Confidence
The Government may ask the Assembly of the Republic for a vote of confidence on a statement of general policy or on any matter of national interest.
 
Article 197  Motions of Censure
(1) The Assembly of the Republic may, at the initiative of one quarter of its members entitled to vote or at the initiative of any parliamentary group, pass motions of censure on the Government concerning the implementation of its program or any matter of national interest.

(2) A motion of censure is not considered until 48 hours after it has been tabled.  The debate on it does not last more than three days.

(3) If a motion of censure is not approved, its signatories cannot table another such motion during the same legislative session.
 
Article 198  Resignation of the Government
(1) The Government has to resign when:
  1. A new legislative period starts;
  2. The President of the Republic accepts a resignation submitted by the Prime Minister;
  3. The Prime Minister dies or becomes physically incapacitated in a lasting way;
  4. Its program is rejected;
  5. A motion of confidence is not approved;
  6. A motion of censure is approved by an absolute majority of the Members of the Assembly entitled to vote.
(2) The President of the Republic may dismiss the Government only when this becomes necessary to secure the regular functioning of the democratic institutions and after the Council of State has been consultated.
 
Article 199  Criminal Liability of Members of the Government
Where criminal proceedings are taken against a member of the Government and the latter is formally charged or indicted, except where the offence at stake is punishable with a prison sentence of over three years, the Assembly of the Republic decides whether or not he or she should be suspended for the purpose of allowing the proceedings to carry on.
 
Chapter III  Powers
 
Article 200  Political powers
(1) In exercising its political functions, the Government has the following powers:
  1. To counter-sign the acts of the President of the Republic in conformity with the provisions of Article 143;
  2. To negotiate and agree on international conventions;
  3. To approve international conventions, the approval of which does not fall within the powers of the Assembly of the Republic, or which were not submitted to the latter;
  4. To submit bills and draft resolutions to the Assembly of the Republic;
  5. To propose to the President of the Republic to submit matters of relevant national interest to referendum, in conformity with the provisions of Article 118;
  6. To state its opinion on declarations of a state of siege or a state of emergency;
  7. To propose to the President of the Republic declarations of war and the making of peace;
  8. To submit the accounts of the State and of the other public bodies determined by law, to the Assembly of the Republic in conformity with the provisions of Article 165 (d);
  9. To perform any other acts as provided for in the Constitution and the law.
(2) The Government's approval of treaties and international agreements takes the form of decrees.
 
Article 201  Legislative Powers
(1) The Government has the following powers:
  1. To issue decree-laws on matters not reserved to the Assembly of the Republic;
  2. To issue decree-laws on matters relatively reserved to the Assembly of the Republic subject to its authorization;
  3. To issue decree-laws in application of laws laying down legal principles or bases.
(2) The Government has exclusive competence in matters concerning its own organization and working.

(3) The decree-laws provided for in Paragraph (1)(b) and (c) expressly mention the law granting legislative authorization or the law laying down bases under cover of which they are approved.
 
Article 202  Administrative Powers
In the exercise of its administrative functions, the Government has the following powers:

a) To prepare the plans on the basis of the laws concerning the major options in that respect, and to implement them;
b) To implement the Budget of the State;
c) To issue the regulations that are necessary for the proper enforcement of the laws;
d) To be in charge of the departments and to manage the direct administrative activity of the State, both civil and military, to superintend the indirect administration and to watch over the autonomous administration;
e) To perform all the acts required by law with respect to the functionaries and personnel of the State and of other public bodies corporate;
f) To safeguard democratic legality:
g) To perform all the acts and make all the arrangements that are necessary for the promotion of economic and social development and for the satisfaction of the needs of the community.
 
Article 203  Powers of the Council of Ministers
(1) The Council of Ministers has the following powers:
  1. To adopt the general guidelines of governmental policy and of its implementation;
  2. To decide whether to seek votes of confidence in the Assembly of the Republic;
  3. To approve bills and draft resolutions;
  4. To approve decree-laws and to approve international conventions that are not submitted to the Assembly of the Republic;
  5. To approve the plans;
  6. To approve the Government acts that involve increases or decreases in public revenue or expenditure;
  7. To decide upon other matters within the powers of the Government that are committed to it by law or that are submitted to it by the Prime Minister or any Minister.
(2) Councils of specialized Ministers exercise the powers given to them by law or delegated by the Council of Ministers.
 
Article 204  Powers of the Members of the Government
(1) The Prime Minister has the following powers:
  1. To direct the Government's general policy, to coordinate and guide the action of all Ministers;
  2. To direct the work of the Government and its general relations with the other organs of the State;
  3. To inform the President of the Republic on matters concerning the way in which the internal and external policiesof the country are being conducted;
  4. To perform the other duties committed to him or her by the Constitution and the law.
(2) Ministers have the following powers:
  1. To carry out the policies laid down for their offices;
  2. To maintain relations of a general nature between the Government and the other organs of the State where their offices are concerned.
(3) Decree-laws and other decrees of the Government are signed by the Prime Minister and the Ministers who are competent for the matter in question.
 
Section V  The Courts
 
Chapter I  General Principles
 
Article 205  Jurisdictional Function
(1) The courts are the organs of supreme authority that have the power to administer justice in the name of the people.

(2) In administering justice, the courts safeguard the citizen's rights and legally protected interests, punish violations of the democratic legality, and settle public as well as private conflicts of interests.

(3) In exercising their duties, the courts are entitled to the   assistance of the other authorities.

(4) The law may provide for non jurisdictional ways and means of settling conflicts.
 
Article 206  Independence
The courts are independent and subject only to the law.
 
Article 207  Findings as to Unconstitutionality
The courts may not apply unconstitutional provisions or principles to matters brought before them.
 
Article 208  Court Decisions
(1) The decisions of the courts are based on the cases and stipulations contained in law.

(2) The decisions of the courts are binding on all public and private bodies and prevail over the decisions of all other authorities.

(3) The conditions of enforcement of the courts' decisions in relation to all other authorities, and the penalties for failure to enforce such decisions, are regulated by law
 
Article 209  Hearings Before the Courts
Hearings before the courts are public, except when the competent court shows cause for deciding otherwise, in order to safeguard personal dignity and public morals or to ensure its own proper working.
 
Article 210  Juries, People's Participation, Assessors
(1) Juries are made up of the judges of the plenary court and the jurymen; a jury is called to court, at the request of either the prosecution or the defence, for the trial of serious crimes, except terrorism.

(2) The law may provide for social magistrates to be called to court for hearings on industrial disputes, offences against public health, misdemeanors, and other matters involving the assessment of infringed social values.

(3) The law may also provide for technically qualified assessors to be called to participate in the hearings concerning specific matters.
 
Chapter II  Organization of the Courts
 
Article 211  Categories of Courts
(1) There are the following categories of courts other than the Constitutional Court:
  1. The Supreme Court of Justice and the courts of law of first instance and of second instance;
  2. The Supreme Administrative Court and other administrative and fiscal courts;
  3. The Court of Audit;
  4. The military courts.
(2) There may be maritime courts and courts of arbitration.

(3) The law determines the circumstances and the ways in which the courts mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs may function, separately or jointly, as courts to settle conflicts.

(4) There are no courts with exclusive jurisdiction for trying certain categories of crimes; this provision does not affect any provision concerning the military courts.
 
Article 212  Supreme Court of Justice and Courts of Law
(1) The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest court of law, without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

(2) The President of the Supreme Court of Justice is elected by the judges thereof.

(3) The Courts of law of first instance are, as a rule, the district courts; the courts mentioned in Article 213 (2) are placed on the same footing as the latter.

(4) The courts of law of second instance are, as a rule, the courts of appeal.

(5) The Supreme Court of Justice function as a court of first or second instance where the law so provides.
 
Article 213  Powers and Specialization of the Courts of Law
(1) The courts of justice are the common courts for civil and criminal matters; they have jurisdiction over all matters not ascribed to other judicial systems.

(2) There may be courts of law of first instance with specific jurisdiction as well as courts specializing in hearing certain matters.

(3) The courts of appeal and Supreme Court of Justice may work in specialized chambers.
 
Article 214  Administrative and Fiscal Courts
(1) The Supreme Administrative Court is the highest among the administrative and the fiscal courts, without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

(2) The President of the Supreme Administrative Court is elected by and among the judges thereof.

(3) The administrative and fiscal courts have jurisdiction over cases and appeals aiming at settling conflicts that derive from administrative or fiscal legal relations.
 
Article 215  Military Courts
(1) The military courts have jurisdiction to try essentially military offences.

(2) Where good cause exists, the law may give military courts jurisdiction over deliberate offences that may be considered to amount to essentially military offences.

(3) The law may give military courts the power to impose disciplinary measures.
 
Article 216  Court of Audit
(1) The Court of Audit is the highest body entrusted with supervising the legality of public expenditure and with passing judgement on such accounts as required by law; it has inter alia the following powers:
  1. To give an opinion on the General Accounts of the State, including the accounts of the social security and of theautonomous regions;
  2. To give effect to liability resulting from financial offences in conformity with the law;
  3. To perform other duties conferred to it by law.
(2) The Court of Audit may carry out its duties in a decentralized way, through regional sections, in conformity with the law.
 
Chapter III  Status of Judges
 
Article 217  Judges of the Courts of Law
(1) The judges of the courts of law form a single body governed by a single statute.

(2) The law determines the requirements and the rules for the selection of the judges of the courts of law of first instance.

(3) The prevailing criterium in the selection of judges for the courts of law of second instance is the merit and the selection is carried out by way of competition based on the curricula of the judges of the courts of first instance.

(4) Access to the Supreme Court of Justice is by way of competition based on the curricula and open to the judges of the courts of law, the public prosecutors, and other jurists of merit in accordance with the law.
 
Article 218  Safeguards and Cases of Incompatibility
(1) Judges are irremovable and may not be transferred, suspended, retired, or dismissed except as provided by law.

(2) Judges are not liable for their decisions except as provided by law.

(3) Practicing judges may not hold any other office, whether public or private, except unremunerated positions in teaching and scientific research in the legal field.

(4) Practicing judges may not be detached to serve in functions unrelated to the activity of the courts unless authorized by the appropriate higher council.
 
Article 219  Appointment, Assignment, Transfer, Promotion
(1) The Higher Council of the Bench has the powers to appoint, assign, transfer, and promote the judges of the courts of law; it also has the powers to exercise disciplinary action against the latter.  Such powers must be used in conformity with the law.

(2) The appropriate higher councils have the powers to appoint, assign, transfer, and promote the judges of the administrative and fiscal courts; they also have the powers to exercise disciplinary action against the latter.  Such powers must be used in conformity with the law.

(3) The powers to appoint, assign, transfer, and promote the judges of the other courts, as well as the powers to exercise disciplinary action against them, are regulated by law with the safeguards provided in the Constitution.
 
Article 220  Higher Council of the Bench
(1) The Higher Council of the Bench are presided over by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice; its membership is as follows:
  1. Two members appointed by the President of the Republic, one of which is to be a judge;
  2. Seven members elected by the Assembly of the Republic;
  3. Seven judges elected by their peers in accordance with the principle of proportional representation.
(2) The rules concerning the safeguards of judges apply to all the members of the Higher Council of the Bench.

(3) The law may provide for the participation of clerks of justice elected by their peers in the Higher Council of the Bench for the exclusive purposes of discussing and voting questions pertaining to the assessment of their professional merits and theexercise of disciplinary action with respect to their class.
 
Chapter IV  Public Prosecutors
 
Article 221  Functions and Status
(1) Public Prosecutors, as a whole, have the powers to represent the State, take criminal proceedings, defend democratic legality, and defend such interests as are indicated by law.

(2) Public Prosecutors, as a whole, have an independent and autonomous status in conformity with the law.

(3) Public Prosecutors are responsible magistrates, hierarchically graded, and cannot be transferred, suspended, retired, or dismissed except as provided by law.

(4) The Attorney-General has the power to appoint, assign, transfer, and promote the Public Prosecutors; he also has the power to exercise disciplinary action against the latter.
 
Article 222  Attorney-General
(1) The Attorney-General is the highest authority in public prosecution; the law determines membership and power of the Attorney-General's Office.

(2) The Attorney-General presides over the Attorney-General's Office which includes the Higher Council of the Public Prosecution: the latter includes members elected by the Assembly of the Republic and members elected among them by the Public Prosecutors.
 
Section VI  Constitutional Court
 
Article 223  Definition
The Constitutional Court is the court that has specific powers to administer justice in matters of both legal and constitutional nature.
 
Article 224  Membership and Status of the Judges
(1) The Constitutional Court is made up of thirteen judges, of which ten are appointed by the Assembly of the Republic and the remaining three are co-opted.

(2) Among both the members appointed by the Assembly of the Republic and the members co-opted, six are chosen among the judges of other courts; the remaining members must be jurists.

(3) The term of office of the persons appointed to sit in the Constitutional Court is six years.

(4) The President of Constitutional Court is elected by the judges that sit therein.

(5) The judges that sit in the Constitutional Court enjoy such safeguards with respect to their being independent, irremovable, impartial, and not responsible, and be subject to such incompatibilities, as judges in the other courts enjoy and are subject to.

(6) The law lays down the other rules concerning the status of the judges of the Constitutional Court.
 
Article 225  Jurisdiction
(1) The Constitutional Court has jurisdiction to assess conformity with the Constitution and the law as provided in Article 277 and subsequent Articles.

(2) The Constitutional Court also has jurisdiction as follows:
  1. To ascertain the death and pass judgement on the permanent physical inability of the President of the Republic, as well as to ascertain that the latter is temporarily prevented from exercising his or her functions;
  2. To ascertain the forfeiture of office of the President of the Republic in the circumstances mentioned in Articles 132 (3) and 133 (3);
  3. To pass judgement in last instance on the regularity and the validity of the acts of the electoral procedure, in conformity with the law;
  4. To ascertain the death and pass judgement on the incapacity for the exercise of the presidential functions, of any candidate for the function of President of the Republic, for the purposes provided in Article 127 (3);
  5. To pass judgement on the legality of the constitution of political parties and their alliances, of their names, monograms, and symbols, as well as to order their dismemberment, in conformity with the Constitution and the law;
  6. To pass judgement on the conformity with the Constitution of referenda and direct consultation of the electorate at local level, prior to any of them being held.
(3) The Constitutional Court also exercises the other functions committed to it by the Constitution and the law
 
Article 226  Organization and Functioning
(1) The law lays down the rules concerning the seat, the organization, and the functioning of the Constitutional Court.

(2) The law lays down the rules concerning the work of the Constitutional Court divided in non-specialized chambers for the purpose of supervising in concreto the conformity with the Constitution and the law or for the purpose of the exercise of other powers conferred to it by law.

(3) The law lays down the rules concerning the appeals for the plenary sitting of the Constitutional Court against contradictory decisions of the chambers within the scope of application of the same provision.
 
Section VII  Autonomous Regions
 
Article 227  Political and Administrative Status of the Azores and Madeira
(1) The special political and administrative arrangements for the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are based on their geographical, economic, and social and cultural characteristics and on the historic aspirations of the peoples of the islands to autonomy.

(2) The autonomy of the regions serves the interests of democratic participation by their citizens, their economic and social development, the promotion and defence of regional interests, and the strengthening of national unity and of the bonds of solidarity among all the Portuguese.

(3) The political and administrative autonomy of the regions in no way affects the State's full sovereignty and is exercised within the limits of the Constitution.
 
Article 228  Statutes
(1) Drafts of political and administrative statutes of the autonomous regions are prepared by the regional legislative assemblies and submitted to the Assembly of the Republic for discussion and approval.

(2) Where the Assembly of the Republic rejects or introduces amendments to the draft, it returns the latter to the regional legislative assembly concerned for consideration and opinion.

(3) The Assembly of the Republic discusses the draft and takes a final decision thereupon as soon as that opinion is given.

(4) The rules provided in the preceding paragraphs apply to the procedure for the amendment to the statutes.
 
Article 229  Powers of the Autonomous Regions
(1) The autonomous regions are corporate bodies in public law and have the following powers which are further defined in their statutes:
  1. in observance of the Constitution and the general laws of the Republic, to legislate on such matters of specific interest to theregions as are not within the exclusive powers of the organs of supreme authority;
  2. Authorized by the Assembly of the Republic and in observance of the Constitution, to legislate on such matters of specific interest to the regions as are not within the exclusive powers of the organs of supreme authority;
  3. To enact enabling legislation with reference to basic laws that do not concern matters falling within the exclusive powers of the Assembly of the Republic and to the basic laws mentioned in Article 168 (1) (f), (g), (n), (v) and (x);
  4. To regulate the implementation of regional legislation and of general laws adopted by the organs of supreme authority that do not reserve for the latter the power to regulate them;
  5. To exercise the right of initiative with respect to their statute, in conformity with the provisions of Article 228;
  6. To exercise the right of legislative initiative, in conformity with the provisions of Article 170 (1), by way of submitting to the Assembly of the Republic bills and motions for amendment;
  7. To exercise the executive powers that belong to them;
  8. To administer and dispose of their assets and to perform acts and conclude contracts where it is their interest to do so;
  9. To exercise the powers of taxation that belong to them, in conformity with the law, to dispose of the revenue so obtained and of other revenue assigned to them and to allocate that revenue to their expenses; to adapt the national fiscal system to regional specifics, in conformity with the provisions of the framework law of the Assembly of the Republic;
  10. To set up and abolish local authorities and to modify their area, in conformity with the law;
  11. To supervise local powers;
  12. To raise localities to the category of towns or cities;
  13. To supervise departments, public institutes, state owned and nationalized businesses whose activities are exclusively or predominantly confined to the region, as well as in other circumstances where warranted by the regional interests;
  14. To approve the regional economic plan, the regional budget and the accounts of the region, as well as to participate in the preparation of the national plans;
  15. To create regulatory offences and the corresponding sanctions, without prejudice of the provisions of Article 168 (1)(d);
  16. To participate in the definition and implementation of the fiscal, monetary, financial, and foreign exchange policies in such a way as to secure regional control of the means of payment in circulation and to provide funds for the investments necessary for their economic and social development;
  17. To participate in the definition of policies concerning the territorial waters, the exclusive economic zone and the adjacent sea beds;
  18. To participate in the negotiations concerning international treaties and agreements of direct concern to them and to share in any benefit derived therefrom;
  19. To engage in co-operation with other foreign regional entities and to participate in organizations aimed at furthering inter-regional dialogue and cooperation in accordance with the guidelines adopted by the organs of supreme authority competent in the field of foreign policy;
  20. To state their opinion, at their own initiative or when consulted by the organs of supreme authority, on questions within the competence of the latter and of concern to the regions.
(2) Proposals for authorizations to legislate have to be accompanied by the preliminary draft of the regional legislative decree sought; the provisions of Article 168 (2) and (3) apply to the corresponding authorizing laws.

(3) The authorizations mentioned in the preceding paragraph lapse at the end of the legislative period or with dissolution of either the Assembly of the Republic or the regional legislative assembly to which they were granted.

(4) The regional legislative decrees mentioned in Paragraph (1)(b) and (c) must expressly mention their respective authorizing laws or basic laws; the provisions of Article 172, where necessary adapted, apply to them.
 
Article 230  Limits to Powers
The autonomous regions shall not:

a) Restrict the rights of workers as recognized by law;
b) Impose restrictions on the passage of persons and goods between them and the rest of the national territory, except restrictions on goods dictated by health requirements;
c) Restrict any occupation or public office to persons born or resident in the region.
 
Article 231  Cooperation Between the Organs of Supreme Authority and the Regional Organs
(1) The organs of supreme authorityl, in cooperation with the organs of regional government, have to ensure the economic and social development of the autonomous regions, and seek in particular to correct inequalities caused by their insular situation.

(2) The organs of supreme authority must always consult the organs of regional government on those questions within their powers which concern the autonomous regions.
 
Article 232  Representation of the Sovereignty of the Republic
(1) The sovereignty of the Republic is especially represented in each autonomous region by a Minister for the Republic; the latter being appointed and dismissed by the President of the Republic on the proposal of the Government and once the Council of State having been heard.

(2) The Minister of the Republic has the powers to coordinate the work of the central departments of the State in so far as it effects the interests of the region; for that purpose, he or she has ministerial powers and a seat in the meetings of the Council of Ministers that deal with matters of interest to the region concerned.

(3) The Minister of the Republic superintends the administrative functions performed by the State in the region and coordinates them with those performed by the region itself.

(4) In the Minister for the Republic's absence or inability to act, he or she is replaced in the region by the president of the regional legislative assembly.
 
Article 233  Organs of Self-Government of the Regions
(1) The organs of self-government of each region are the Regional Legislative Assembly and the Regional Government.

(2) The regional legislative assembly is elected by way of universal, direct, and secret suffrage in accordance with the principle of proportional representation.

(3) The regional government is politically responsible to the regional legislative assembly; its president is appointed by the Minister for the Republic with due regard to the results of the elections.

(4) The other members of the regional government are appointed and dismissed by the Minister for the Republic, upon proposal of the president of that government.

(5) The status of the members of the organs of self-government of the autonomous regions are laid down in the political and administrative statutes of the latter.
 
Article 234  Powers of the Regional Legislative Assembly
(1) The regional legislative assembly has exclusive competencewith respect to the exercise of the powers mentioned in Article 229 (1), (a), (b), (c), (d) second part, (f), (i), (j) first part, (m), and (p), with respect to the approval of the regional budget, the economic plan, and the accounts of the region, as well as with respect to adapting the national fiscal system to the specificities of the region.

(2) The regional legislative assembly has the powers to prepare and adopt its rules of procedure, in conformity with the Constitution and the political and administrative statute of the region concerned.

(3) The provisions of Article 178 (c), 181 (1), (2) and (3), 182 (1), (2) and (3) (a), (b), (c) and (d) and 183 (1), (2) (a), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h) and (i) apply mutatis mutandis to the regional legislative assembly and its parliamentary groups.
 
Article 235  Signature and Veto of the Minister of the Republic
(1) The Minister for the Republic has the power to sign and order publication of the regional legislative decrees and the regional regulatory decrees.

(2) Within fifteen days of having received for the purpose of signature any decree of the regional legislative assembly or of the publication of a Constitutional Court ruling to the effect that the provisions of such a decree are not in violation of the Constitution, the Minister for the Republic either signs the decree, or exercises his or her veto power by way of a substantiated request for reconsideration of the text.

(3) Where the regional legislative assembly has confirmed its vote by an absolute majority of the members entitled to vote, the Minister for the Republic has to sign the decree within eight days of having received it.

(4) Within twenty days of having received for the purpose of signature any decree of the regional government, the Minister for the Republic either signs the decree or refuse to sign it; in the latter case the Minister for the Republic has to provide the regional government with written reasons for the refusal; the regional government may then convert the decree into a bill to be presented to the regional legislative assembly.

(5) The Minister for the Republic also exercises his or her veto powers in conformity with the provisions of Articles 278 and 279.
 
Article 236  Dissolution of the Regional Organs
(1) The President of the Republic, having heard the Assembly of the Republic and the Council of State, is empowered to dissolve the self-government organs of the autonomous regions for reasons pertaining to their performing acts contrary to the Constitution.

(2) Should the regional organs be dissolved, the government of the region is secured by the Minister of the Republic.
 
Section VIII  Local Authorities
 
Chapter I  General Principles
 
Article 237  Local Authorities
(1) The democratic organization of the State includes local authorities.

(2) Local authorities are territorial bodies corporate with representative organs serving the particular interests of the local population.
 
Article 238  Categories of Local Authorities and Administrative Division
(1) The local authorities on the mainland are the parishes, municipal authorities, and administrative regions.

(2) The autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeiracomprise parishes and municipal authorities.

(3) In large metropolitan areas, other organizational forms of territory self-government may be established by law in accordance with special local conditions.

(4) The administrative divisions of the national territory are established by law.
 
Article 239  Functions and Organizations of Local Authorities
The functions and organizations of local authorities and the powers of their organs are regulated by law in accordance with the principle of administrative decentralization.
 
Article 240  Local assets and Finance
(1) The local authorities have their own assets and financial resources.

(2) The system of local finance is established by law and aims at the fair apportionment of public funds by the State and local authorities and at the necessary correction of inequalities between local authorities on the same level.

(3) Local authorities' own receipts in all cases have to include the income from management of their assets and the amounts collected for use of their services.
 
Article 241  Deliberating and Executive Organs
(1) The organization of each local authority includes an elected assembly with powers of decision and a corporate executive organ responsible to it.

(2) The assembly is elected by direct and secret universal suffrage of the resident citizens according to the system of proportional representation.

(3) The organs of the local authorities may carry out direct consultations of the voters enrolled in their area, by secret vote, on questions covered by their exclusive competence, in the cases, under the conditions, and with the force that the law determines.
 
Article 242  Power to Regulate
The local authorities have their own powers to issue regulations, within the limits of the Constitution, the laws, and the regulations of higher local authorities or authorities with powers of oversight.
 
Article 243  Administrative Oversight
(1) The Administrative oversight of local authorities consists in verifying whether the law is complied with by the organs of the said authorities and it is exercised in the cases and in the ways laid down by law.

(2) Supervisory measures restrictive of local autonomy require the prior opinion of a local authority organ to be determined by law.

(3) The dissolution of local authority organs resulting from direct elections is caused only by serious illegal deeds and acts of omission.
 
Article 244  Staff of the Local Authorities
(1) The local authorities have their own staffs in accordance with the law.

(2) The system governing officials and employees of the State is applicable to officials and employees of the local administration.

(3) The law determines the ways in which the State gives technical support and support in the form of human means to the local authorities, without prejudice to their autonomy.
 
Chapter II  Parishes
 
Article 245  Organs of the Parish
The representative organs of the parish are the parish assembly and the parish committee.
 
Article 246  Parish Assembly
(1) The parish assembly is elected by the citizens entitled to vote who are resident within the parish.

(2) In addition to the political parties, other groups of citizens entitled to vote may put forward candidates for election to the parish organs, on conditions laid down by law.

(3) Provision may be made by law for the parish assembly to be replaced in parishes with a small population by meetings of all the citizens entitled to vote.
 
Article 247  Parish Committee
(1) The parish committee is the executive organ of the parish.  It is elected by the assembly in secret ballot from among its members.

(2) The chairman of the committee has to be the citizen who heads the list that received the most votes in the election to the assembly or, where no assembly exists, the citizen elected for the purpose by the plenary meeting.
 
Article 248  Delegation of Duties
The parish assembly is empowered to delegate administrative duties not involving the exercise of authority to neighborhood organizations.
 
Chapter III  Municipalities
 
Article 249  Changes to municipalities
The establishment or abolishment of municipalities and changes to their area are carried out by law after consulting the organs of the local authorities concerned.
 
Article 250  Municipal Organs
The representative organs of the municipal authority are the municipal assembly and the municipal chamber.
 
Article 251  Municipal Assembly
The municipal assembly comprises the chairmen of the parish councils and at least an equal number of members elected by the votes in the municipal area.
 
Article 252  Municipal Chamber
The municipal chamber is the corporate executive organ of the municipal authority.  It is elected by the citizens entitled to vote who are resident in its area.  The chairman is the candidate who heads the list that received the most votes.
 
Article 253  Association and Federation
The municipal authorities are empowered to form associations and federations for the purpose of the administration of common interests.
 
Article 254  Share in the Revenue From Direct Taxation
Municipal authorities share, on their own right and in conformity with the law, in the revenue from direct taxation.
 
Chapter IV  Administrative Regions
 
Article 255  Establishment by the Law
The administrative regions are simultaneously established by the law; the latter lays down their powers, membership, attributions, and the working methods of its organs, where appropriate with differences from one to the other.
 
Article 256  Establishment In Concreto
Each administrative region is set up by law; this law is subordinated to the law provided for in the preceding Article and depends on a favorable vote of the majority of the municipal assemblies representing the larger portion of the regional area's population.
 
Article 257  Duties
The administrative regions are conferred inter alia the duty to guide the public services and the task of coordinating and supporting the municipal action, whilst respecting the municipal autonomy and without limiting the municipal powers.
 
Article 258  Plans
The administrative regions prepares regional plans and participates in the preparation of the plans provided for in Article 92.
 
Article 259  Organs of the Region
The region's representative organs are the regional assembly and the regional committee.
 
Article 260  Regional Assembly
The regional assembly is made up of members directly elected by the citizens enrolled in the electoral register of the area of the region and members elected according to the system of proportional representation and the Hondt highest average method by an electoral college in which the directly elected members of the municipal assemblies of that area participate; the first mentioned members outnumbers the last mentioned.
 
Article 261  Regional Committee
The regional committee is the executive collective organ of the region and is elected in a secret ballot by the regional assembly, among the latter's members.
 
Article 262  Government's Representative
Attached to each region is a representative of the Government appointed by the Council of Ministers; he or she also exercises powers with respect to the other local authorities in the area of the region.
 
Chapter V  Neighborhood Organizations
 
Article 263  Establishment and Area
(1) With a view to intensifying the participation of the population in local administrative life, there may be set up neighborhood organizations among persons residing in an area smaller than the parish.

(2) On its own initiative or at the request of committees of neighbors or a significant number of neighbors, the parish assembly limits the territorial areas of the organizations mentioned in the preceding paragraph and, where appropriate, settles the conflicts arising therefrom.
 
Article 264  Structure
(1) The structure of neighborhood organizations is laid down by law and include an assembly of neighbors and a committee of neighbors.

(2) The assembly of neighbors is made up of the persons residing in the area that are enrolled in the electoral register of the parish.

(3) The committee of neighbors is elected in a secret ballot by the assembly of neighbors and freely destituted by the latter.
 
Article 265  Rights and Powers
(1) The neighborhood organizations enjoys the following rights:
  1. Of petition before the local authorities with respect to administrative matters of concern to the neighbors, and
  2. Of participation in the parish assembly through their representatives, the latter not being entitled to vote.
(2) The neighborhood organizations have the powers to perform the tasks conferred upon them by law or delegated to them by the organs of the concerned parish.
 
Section IX  Public Administration
 
Article 266  Fundamental Principles
(1) Public administrative authorities seeks to promote the public interest, while observing those rights and interests of citizens that are protected by law.

(2) The organs and staff of the administrative authorities are subject to the Constitution and the law and exercise their functions in such a way as to respect the principles of equality, proportionality, fairness, and impartiality.
 
Article 267  Structure of the Administration
(1) Public administrative authorities are structured in such a way as to avoid bureaucracy, to bring the administration closer to the population, and to ensure participation by those concerned in its actual running, in particular through public associations, neighborhood organizations, and other forms of democratic representation.

(2) For the purposes of the foregoing paragraph, suitable forms of administrative decentralization and devolution are established by law, without prejudice to the efficiency and unity of action that are necessary or to take the Government's powers to direct and supervise.

(3) Public associations may be formed only to meet specific needs.  They do not have the functions peculiar to trade union associations and their internal organization is based on respect for the rights of their members and on the democratic formation of their organs.

(4) Administrative procedures are dealt with in a special law, which ensures rationalization of the methods to be used by departments and participation by the citizens in the decision-making process or in deliberations which concern them.
 
Article 268  Rights and Safeguards of the Citizens
(1) Citizens are entitled to be informed by public administrative authorities, whenever they so require, on the progress of proceedings in which they are directly concerned and to have knowledge of final decisions taken with regard to them.

(2) Citizens also enjoy the right of access to the administrative archives and files, without prejudice to the legal provisions concerning the internal and external security, criminal investigation, and personal privacy.

(3) Administrative acts are notified to the interested parties in the way provided for by law; they are substantiated whenever they affect the legally protected rights or interests of citizens.

(4) Interested parties are entitled to judicial appeal on grounds of illegality against any administrative act affecting their legally protected rights or interests, irrespective of the latter's form.

(5) Access to the administrative justice is also always guaranteed to citizens for the purpose of safeguarding their legally protected rights and interests.

(6) For the purposes set out in Paragraphs (1) and (2), the law provides a delay for the Administration's reply.
 
Article 269  Civil Service
(1) While exercising their functions, the workers of publicadministrative authorities and other personnel of the State and other public bodies exclusively serve the public interest, as it is defined, in accordance with law, by competent organs of administration.

(2) The workers of public administrative authorities and other personnel of the State and other public bodies may not suffer damage or receive benefit as a result of the exercise of any political rights provided for in the Constitution, in particular because of party allegiance.

(3) In disciplinary proceedings, the right of the individual concerned to be heard and to defend himself is secured.

(4) No one may hold more than one public post or office except in cases expressly provided for by law.

(5) Cases of incompatibility between the holding of a public post or office and other activities are laid down by law.
 
Article 270  Restrictions on the Exercise of Rights
The law may lay down restrictions on the rights of expression, meeting, demonstration, association, collective petition, and on the electoral capacity of the permanent cadres of the military and security forces on active duty as strictly required by their peculiar functions.
 
Article 271  Liability of Officials and Personnel
(1) Officials and personnel of the State and other public bodies are responsible on civil, criminal, and disciplinary grounds for actions and omissions performed in the exercise and because of their functions which result in infringements of the legally protected rights or interests of the citizens; taking action or proceedings thereupon is not subject at any stage to approval by a higher authority.

(2) An official or member of the personnel who acts in accordance with orders or instructions on a service matter from his legitimate superior cannot be held liable, provided that he previously requested or required that they should be given or confirmed in writing.

(3) The duty of obedience ceases whenever the carrying out of orders or instructions involves committing some criminal offence.

(4) The conditions on which the State and other public bodies are entitled to recover the amount of indemnities previously paid by them from officials and their personnel are regulated by law.
 
Article 272  Police
(1) The police has the functions of defending democratic legality and the rights of citizens.

(2) The police measures are provided for by law and may not be used beyond what is strictly necessary.

(3) The prevention of crimes, including crimes against the security of the State, is performed with due regard to the general rules governing the police and to the rights, freedoms, and safeguards of citizens.

(4) The law determines the system governing the security forces, each of which has a single organization for the whole national territory.
 
Section X  National Defence
 
Article 273  National Defence
(1) The State has the obligation of ensuring national defence.

(2) The aims of the national defence are to ensure the national independence, the integrity of the territory, and the freedom and security of the population against any external aggression or menace, while respecting the constitutional order, the democratic institutions, and international conventions.
 
Article 274  Higher Council of National Defence
(1) The Higher Council of National Defence is presided over by the President of the Republic and its membership is determined by law.

(2) The Higher Council of National Defence is the specific advisory body for questions concerning national defence and the organization, functioning, and discipline of the Armed Forces and it has the administrative competence that may be granted to it by law.
 
Article 275  Armed Forces
(1) The Armed Forces secure the military defence of the Republic.

(2) The Armed Forces are exclusively composed of Portuguese citizens and their organization is based on compulsory military service and is a single one for the whole national territory.

(3) The Armed Forces obey the competent organs of supreme authority in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

(4) The Armed Forces are at the service of the Portuguese people.  They are strictly non-partisan and their members may not take advantage of their weapons, posts, or functions for any political intervention.

(5) The Armed Forces may cooperate in the accomplishment of tasks connected with the satisfaction of basic needs and the improvement of the quality of life of the population, including situations of public calamity not justifying the suspension of the exercise of rights.

(6) Legislation that makes provision for the state of siege and the state of emergency determines the conditions under which the Armed Forces may be used in those circumstances.
 
Article 276  Defence of the Country, Military, and Civic Service
(1) The defence of the country is a fundamental right and a fundamental duty of every Portuguese.

(2) Military service is compulsory, for a period and on conditions laid down by law.

(3) Persons considered unfit for armed military service perform unarmed military service or civic service suited to their situations.

(4) Conscientious objectors perform civic service of a length and difficulty equivalent to that of armed military service.

(5) Civic service may be established as a substitute for or as a complement to military service and may be made compulsory by law for citizens not subject to military service.

(6) No citizen may keep or obtain any office in the State or in any other public body if he fails to perform his military service or civic service, if compulsory.

(7) Performance by a citizen of military service or compulsory civic service is without prejudice to his social security benefits or permanent career.