Portugal is a democratic republic ruled by the constitution of 1976 with Lisbon, the nation’s largest city, as its capital. The four main governing components are the president of the republic, the assembly of the republic, the government, and the courts. The constitution grants the division or separation of powers among legislative, executive and judicial branches. Portugal like most European countries has no state religion, making it a secular state. Administratively, Portugal is divided into 18 districts and two autonomous regions (the Azores and Madeira Islands).
The president, who is elected to a five-year term, has a supervising, non-executive role. The current President is Aníbal Cavaco Silva. The Assembly of the Republic is a unicameral parliament composed of 230 deputies elected for four-year terms.
The government is headed by the prime minister, who chooses the Council of Ministers, comprising all the ministers and the respective state secretaries. The national and regional governments, and the Portuguese parliament, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party. Minority parties CDU (Portuguese Communist Party plus Ecologist Party “The Greens”), Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) and CDS-PP (People’s Party) are also represented in the parliament and local governments.
The courts are organised into categories, including judicial, administrative and fiscal. The supreme courts are the courts of last appeal. A thirteen-member constitutional court oversees the constitutionality of legislation.
Conventional long form: Portuguese Republic
Conventional short form: Portugal
Local long form: Republica Portuguesa
Local short form: Portugal
Geographic coordinates: 38 43 N, 9 08 W
Time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
18 districts (distritos, singular – distrito) and 2 autonomous regions* (regioes autonomas, singular – regiao autonoma); Aveiro, Acores (Azores)*, Beja, Braga, Braganca, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa (Lisbon), Madeira*, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu