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The Portuguese Republic: It’s Really Not As Boring As It Sounds

I’ll bet Portuguese government trivia isn’t a topic that comes up often at your dinner table. As foreign and far away as it sounds, there are several things its government has in common with the US. Memorize these facts and become the center of attention as the mashed potatoes get passed around.

Government Structure

The Portuguese Republic (its official name) is made up of the Government of Portugal, the President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic and the courts. It’s called a semi-presidential republic because the president governs along with his prime minister and his cabinet. The President’s cabinet has a Council of Ministers who are given their jobs by him and are recommended by the prime minister. Presidents serve a 5-year term and can have a second term.

Portugal has legislative and judicial branches of their government like the US does. There are 230 people in the legislature which is the Assembly of the Republic. The supreme court has 13 judges who are nominated by the president and appointed by the Assembly. Also, they have a constitution and a system of civil laws like we do. There are at least 8 recognized political parties including democratic, the Ecologist Party (nicknamed “The Greens”), the People, Animals Nature Party, the Socialist Party and the Portuguese Communist Party.

People in the Portuguese Government

The President of Portugal is Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of the Social Democratic party. He won the country’s last election on January 24, 2016. The Prime Minister is António Luis Santos de Costa who belongs to the Socialist Party. Other members of the President’s cabinet (his ministry) are:

Augusto Santos Silva – Foreign Affairs

Màrio Centeno – Finance

Francisca Van Dunem – Justice

Tiago Brandao Rodrigues – Education

Adalberto Campos Fernandes – Health

Luis Capoulas Santos – Agriculture

Each minister has one or two secretaries and sometime deputy ministers, too.

Citizenship is one thing about the government in Portugal that is really different from the US. Over there at least one of your parents has to a citizen for you to be one. Just being born there doesn’t make you Portuguese. If you move to Portugal, you have to live there for 10 years before you can become a citizen. However, if you lived in a Portuguese-speaking country for at least 6 years that will work, too. A more direct way is to buy your citizenship by investing a little over $300,000 in business, culture, property or research in the country.