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
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
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 extradition.
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
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 sexual orientation.
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.