President of Portugal

Last updated
President of the Portuguese Republic
Presidente da República Portuguesa
Coat of arms of Portugal (
Coat of arms of the Presidency
Flag of the President of Portugal.svg
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (Web Summit).jpg
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
since 9 March 2016
Presidential Office of the Portuguese Republic
Style Mr President (informal)
His Excellency (diplomatic)
Type Head of state
Member of
Residence Belém Palace
Seat Lisbon, Portugal
Appointer Direct election
Term length Five years, renewable once consecutively
Precursor Monarch
Formation5 October 1910;113 years ago (1910-10-05)
First holder Manuel de Arriaga
Deputy President of the Assembly
Salary€93,364.74 annually [1]

The president of Portugal, officially the president of the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese : Presidente da República Portuguesa, pronounced [pɾɨziˈðẽtɨðɐʁɛˈpuβlikɐpuɾtuˈɣezɐ] ), is the head of state and highest office of Portugal.


The powers, functions and duties of prior presidential offices, and their relation with the prime minister and cabinets have over time differed with the various Portuguese constitutions. Currently, in the Third Republic, a semi-presidential system, the president holds no direct executive power, unlike his counterparts in the United States and France. However, he is more than a merely ceremonial figure as is typically the case with parliamentary systems: one of his most significant responsibilities is the promulgation of all laws enacted by the Assembly of the Republic (parliament) or the Government (an act without which such laws have no legal validity), with an alternative option to veto them (although this veto can be overcome in the case of laws approved by Parliament) or send them to the Constitutional Court for appreciation of whether they violate the Constitution. This and other abilities imply that the president of Portugal does not fit clearly into either of the three traditional powers  – legislative, executive and judicial –, acting instead as a sort of "moderating power" among the traditional three. [2]

The current president of Portugal is Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who took office on 9 March 2016.


The Portuguese Third Republic is a semi-presidential system. Unlike most European presidents, who are largely ceremonial figures, the Portuguese president is invested with more extensive powers. Although the prime minister and parliament oversee and direct much of Portugal's actual governmental affairs, the president wields significant influence and authority, especially in the fields of national security and foreign policy (but still less than "strong" semi-presidential systems, such as France or Romania). The president is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, holds the nation's most senior office, and outranks all other politicians. [3]

Prior to the Carnation Revolution, the powers of the presidency varied widely; some presidents were virtual dictators (such as Pais, and Carmona in his early years), while others were little more than figureheads (such as Carmona in his later years, Craveiro Lopes, and Américo Tomás. During the Estado Novo, the president was nominally vested with near-dictatorial powers, but in practice supreme power was held by António de Oliveira Salazar, the president of the Council of Ministers). [4] [5]

Government nomination

The president's greatest power is his ability to appoint the prime minister. However, since the Assembly of the Republic has the sole power to dismiss the prime minister's government, the prime minister named by the president must have the confidence of a majority of representatives in the assembly, otherwise the prime minister may face a motion of no confidence. The president has the discretionary power to dissolve parliament when he sees fit (colloquially known as the "atomic bomb" in Portugal), [6] and President Jorge Sampaio made use of this prerogative in late 2004 to remove the controversial government of Pedro Santana Lopes, despite the absolute majority of deputies supporting the government. [7]

Armed Forces

In 2003, President Sampaio also intervened to limit the Portuguese participation in the Iraq War as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces he forbade the deployment of the Portuguese Army in a war that he personally disagreed with, clashing with the then–prime minister José Manuel Barroso. [8] Because of this, the Government eventually deployed 128 members of the National Republican Guard (GNR) to Iraq from 2003 to 2005, this being possible because the GNR, despite being a military force, was not part of the Armed Forces. [9]


The constitution grants the following powers to the president: [10]


Under the Portuguese Constitution adopted in 1976, in the wake of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, the president is elected to a five-year term. He may be reelected any number of times, but not more than twice in a row. [10] The official residence of the Portuguese president is the Belém Palace in Lisbon. [11]

The president is elected in a two-round system: if no candidate reaches 50% of the votes during the first round, the two candidates with the most votes face each other in a second round held two weeks later. However, the second round has only been needed once, during the 1986 presidential election. To date, all of the elected presidents since the Carnation Revolution have served for two consecutive terms, and presidents consistently rank as the most popular political figure in the country. During his time in office, however, the popularity of former president Aníbal Cavaco Silva plummeted, making him the second-least popular political figure in the country, just above the then-prime minister, and the first Portuguese president after 1974 to have a negative popularity. [12]

Under article 132 of the Constitution, if the president dies or becomes incapacitated while in office, the president of the Assembly assumes the office with restricted powers until a new president can be inaugurated following fresh elections.

President's residence

Lisbon, Belem Palace.JPG
Facade of the Belém Palace
Gabinete de Trabalho do Presidente, Palacio de Belem (2016-10-05) 01.png
Presidential Office.
Sala das Bicas - Palacio Nacional de Belem 09.jpg
Bicas room.

Belém Palace is the official residence of the President of the Portuguese Republic since 1910. Built in the 16th century by a high ranking diplomat named Manuel de Portugal, was bought by King John V in the 18th century and served as one of the residence of the Royal Family until the early 20th century. [13]

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, current President, lives in the palace. [14]

Last election

2021 presidential election

Summary of the 24 January 2021 Portuguese presidential election results
CandidatesSupporting partiesFirst round
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa Social Democratic Party, People's Party 2,531,69260.66
Ana Gomes People–Animals–Nature, LIVRE 540,82312.96
André Ventura CHEGA 497,74611.93
João Ferreira Portuguese Communist Party, Ecologist Party "The Greens" 179,7644.31
Marisa Matias Left Bloc, Socialist Alternative Movement 165,1273.96
Tiago Mayan Gonçalves Liberal Initiative 134,9913.23
Vitorino Silva React, Include, Recycle 123,0312.95
Total valid4,173,174100.00
Blank ballots47,1641.11
[lower-alpha 1] Invalid ballots38,0180.89
Registered voters/turnout10,847,43439.26
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições


Graphical timeline (since 1910)

Marcelo Rebelo de SousaCavaco SilvaJorge SampaioMário SoaresAntónio Ramalho EanesCosta GomesAntónio de SpínolaAmérico TomásCraveiro LopesAntónio de Oliveira SalazarÓscar CarmonaGomes da CostaMendes CabeçadasManuel Teixeira GomesAntónio José de AlmeidaCanto e CastroSidónio PaisBernardino MachadoManuel de ArriagaTeófilo BragaPresident of Portugal

State visits

Historical rankings of presidents

Rankings of presidents
Aximage [15]
Intercampus [16]
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa PSD 2016–present39.4%27.0%
Ramalho Eanes Ind./PRD 1976–198626.7%25.7%
Jorge Sampaio PS 1996–200617.3%22.3%
Mário Soares PS 1986–19968.8%8.8%
Aníbal Cavaco Silva PSD 2006–20164.5%6.7%

See also


  1. Includes votes for candidate Eduardo Baptista.

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  1. Miguel Santos (23 September 2015). "E agora um temasensível: os políticos são mal pagos?". Observador (in Portuguese). Lisbon. Retrieved 12 October 2016. Todos os salários de detentores de cargos políticos são calculados em função do salário bruto do Presidente da República — 6 668 euros brutos (a que acresce 25% de despesas de representação).
  2. Duties of the President – Head of State. Official Page of the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  3. "Presidente da República". Diário da República . Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  4. "Os Presidentes da Ditadura Nacional e do Estado Novo". RTP. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  5. "Os Presidentes da 1.ª República". RTP. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  6. "Dissolução da Assembleia da República". Diário da República . Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  7. "Jorge Sampaio vai dissolver Assembleia da República". Público. 30 November 2004. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  8. "Sampaio reafirma ilegitimidade da ofensiva militar contra o Iraque". Público. 19 March 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  9. "Militares Portugueses partem para o Iraque". RTP. 8 May 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  10. 1 2 "Constitution of the Portuguese Republic" (PDF). Assembly of the Republic. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  11. "Belem National Palace". Presidency of the Portuguese Republic. Archived from the original on 2023-10-09. Retrieved 2023-11-13. Belém Palace has been the Official Residence of the President of the Republic since the establishment of the Republic in 1910.
  12. Francisco Teixeira (21 April 2011). "Cavaco é o primeiro PR com popularidade negativa". Diário Econónmico (in Portuguese). Lisbon. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  13. "Palácio de Belém". Presidency of the Republic. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  14. "Um dia na vida do Presidente Marcelo". SIC Notícias. 14 March 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  15. "Sondagem Aximage:Melhor Presidente da República" (in Portuguese). 14 November 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  16. "Barómetro Vaga 44 Maio / Junho" (in Portuguese). 1 June 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2024.