President of Portugal

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President of the Portuguese Republic
Presidente da República Portuguesa
Coat of arms of Portugal.svg
Flag of the President of Portugal.svg
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Visita de Estado ao Mexico 2017-07-17.png
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

since 9 March 2016 (2016-03-09)
Style His/Her Excellency [1]
Type Executive
Member of Council of State
Superior Council of National Defense
Residence Belém Palace
Seat Lisbon, Portugal
Appointer Direct election;
Two-round system, universal suffrage
Term length Five years;
Renewable once, consecutively.
Constituting instrument Constitution of the
Third Republic
Precursor King of Portugal
Inaugural holder Manuel de Arriaga
Formation5 October 1910;110 years ago (1910-10-05)
Salary 93,364.74 (2015)
(€6,668.91/month) [2]
Coat of arms of Portugal.svg
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The president of the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese : Presidente da República Portuguesa, pronounced  [pɾɨziˈðẽtɨ ðɐ ʁɛˈpuβlikɐ puɾtuˈɣezɐ] ) is the executive head of state 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.


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 several other European presidents, the Portuguese president is quite powerful. Although it is the prime minister of Portugal and parliament that oversee much of the nation's actual day-to-day affairs, the Portuguese president wields significant influence and authority, especially in the fields of national security and foreign policy (but less than other "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.

The president's greatest power is his ability to choose 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 the majority of the representatives in the assembly, otherwise he or she may face a motion of no confidence. The president has the discretionary power to dissolve parliament when sees it fit (colloquially known as the "atomic bomb" in Portugal), and President 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. 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 (128 National Republican Guards were eventually deployed from 2003 to 2005).

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 their administrations, supreme power was held by President of the Council of Ministers António de Oliveira Salazar).


The constitution grants the following powers to the president: [3]


Under the Portuguese Constitution adopted in 1976, in the wake of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, the president is elected to a five-year term; there is no limit to the number of terms a president may serve, but a president who serves two consecutive terms may not serve again in the next five years after the second term finishes or in the following five years after his resignation. [3] The official residence of the Portuguese president is the Belém Palace.

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. Recently, however, the popularity of former president Aníbal Cavaco Silva plummeted, making him the second-least popular political figure in the country, just above the prime minister, and the first Portuguese president after 1974 to have a negative popularity. [4]

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.

2016 presidential election

Summary of the 24 January 2016 Portuguese presidential election results

e    d  
CandidatesSupporting partiesFirst round
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa Social Democratic Party, People's Party, People's Monarchist Party 2,413,95652.00
António Sampaio da Nóvoa Independent supported by the Portuguese Workers' Communist Party, LIVRE 1,062,13822.88
Marisa Matias Left Bloc, Socialist Alternative Movement 469,81410.12
Maria de Belém Independent 196,7654.24
Edgar Silva Portuguese Communist Party, Ecologist Party "The Greens" 183,0513.94
Vitorino Silva Independent 152,3743.28
Paulo de Morais Independent 100,1912.16
Henrique Neto Independent 39,1630.84
Jorge Sequeira Independent 13,9540.30
Cândido Ferreira Independent 10,6090.23
Total valid4,642,015100.00
Blank ballots58,9641.24
Invalid ballots43,5880.92
Total (turnout 48.66%)4,744,597
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições

Graphical timeline (since 1910)

President of Portugal

State visits

The president of Portugal often makes official state visits to other foreign countries.

Living former presidents

There are three living former Portuguese presidents:

See also

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  1. "United Nations Protocol and Liaison Service Public List: Heads of State - Heads of Government - Ministers For Foreign Affairs". Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  2. Miguel Santos (23 September 2015). "E agora um tema sensível: 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).CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  3. 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.
  4. Francisco Teixeira (21 April 2011). "Cavaco é o primeiro PR com popularidade negativa". Diário Econónmico (in Portuguese). Lisbon. Retrieved 16 October 2016.