The Constitution of the Portuguese Republic that was passed
on 2 April 1976 gave the Assembly of the Republic the power
the revise the Constitution itself. This prerogative was exercised
for the first time in a long process of revising the initial
text (from 30 April 1981 to 30 September 1982). The original
document reflected political and ideological options which
arose out of the revolutionary period that followed the break
with the previous authoritarian regime. It confirmed a transition
to socialism based on the nationalisation of the main means
of production and the continued participation of the Armed
Forces Movement in the exercise of political power, via the
Council of the Revolution.
The 1982 Constitutional Revision sought to reduce the ideological
content of the Constitution, make the economic system more
flexible and redefine the organisational structures through
which political power was exercised. The Council of the Revolution
was abolished and the Constitutional Court created.
The 2nd Constitutional Revision took place in
1989. It made the economic system more open, particularly by
ending the principle of the irreversibility of the
nationalisations that had occurred immediately after the
Revolution on the 25th of April 1974.
The subsequent Constitutional Revisions, in 1992 and 1997,
sought to adapt the text of the Constitution to the
principles of the European Union Treaties and the Treaties
of Maastricht and Amsterdam. It also aimed to make a number
of other changes, especially by giving foreign citizens the
right to vote, making it possible to create uninominal
constituencies, giving citizens the right to initiate
legislation, and also strengthening the Assembly of the
Republic’s exclusive legislative powers.
The Constitution was again revised in 2001, to make it
possible for Portugal to ratify the Convention that created
the International Criminal Court by changing the rules on
The 6th Constitutional Revision, which was passed
in 2004, granted broader political and administrative
autonomy to the Madeira and Azores Autonomous Regions,
principally by increasing the powers of their legislative
assemblies and abolishing the office of “Minister of the
Republic”, which was replaced with that of “Representative
of the Republic”.
Rules concerning international relations and International
Law were also amended and clarified. Examples include those
on the effectiveness of European Union treaties and rules in
the Portuguese legal system.
The principle of limits on political terms of office was
also deepened, particularly in relation to executive
political officeholders, and the principle of
non-discrimination was strengthened, especially as regards
7th Constitutional Revision
was passed in 2005. By adding a new article to the
Constitution, it allowed the holding of referenda on the
approval of treaties aimed at the construction and deepening
of the European Union.