Democracy and rights
In 1974 Portugal went from dictatorship to
democracy. The country today has a functioning
democratic system, where several shifts of power have
taken place in orderly form. Freedom of speech, assembly
and press are guaranteed in the Constitution. However,
corruption and poor conditions in the country's prisons
are serious problems.
Political elections are conducted according to
democratic rules of the game and citizens are free to
form political parties. In 1997, the constitution was
amended to give Portuguese residents abroad the right to
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Portugal, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Formally, men and women should have the same rights,
but Portuguese society is still male-dominated. In 2015,
almost one-third of the MPs were women, in 2019 the
representation increased to 39 percent, largely because
of new legislation which states that women must be
guaranteed at least 40 percent of the seats in the
National Assembly. For the first time, a black woman in
parliament was elected as the representative of the
eco-socialist Free (Livre).
Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of ethnic,
language, religion, political affiliation and
socio-economic background is enshrined in the
constitution. Prohibitions also apply to racist
organizations. In 2017, legislation on hate crimes was
The Roma minority and immigrants originating in
Africa are discriminated against in terms of housing,
employment and access to education (see Population and
Freedom of expression and media
Portugal's constitution guarantees freedom of the
press and the press censorship was abolished in 1974.
In Reporters Without Borders index of freedom of the
press in the countries of the world, in 2019 Portugal
ranked 10th out of 180 countries (for list, see here).
The country has thus climbed 20 placements since 2014.
Violation is still illegal and can be punishable by
up to six months in prison, but prosecution is unusual.
In several cases where people have been convicted of
slander, the defendants have been released since the
cases were brought by the European Court of Human Rights
(ECHR) which meant that the judges had a restriction on
their freedom of expression.
Denial of the Holocaust and incitement to a group of
people is forbidden.
In 2018, new legislation was passed to strengthen the
protection of journalists, with stricter penalties for
those who harass and threaten media workers. A similar
protection exists for judges, lawyers, witnesses,
security personnel and sports judges.
There are about 10 newspapers in the country, all of
which are privately owned. When it comes to etheric
media, so-called public service companies have problems
with inadequate funding, and they face stiff competition
from private media companies.
Journalists often have low wages, and insecure
The legislation gives citizens the right to access
public documents, which is usually respected.
In 2017, three out of four Portuguese households had
access to the Internet. This is a clear increase
compared to just a few years earlier, not least thanks
to the government's efforts in new technology.
Nevertheless, Internet use in Portugal is still lower
than in many other parts of Western Europe.
In recent years, Portugal has been shaken by several
corruption deals, in which both high-ranking politicians
and leading people have been involved. Several of the
attentive cases have led to prosecution. Corruption also
occurs within authorities that handle permit and
In 2017, José Sócrates, the country's prime minister
in 2005–2011, was prosecuted and about 10 other people,
including a high ranking bank manager, for corruption,
money laundering and tax fraud (Sócrates is accused of
damaging the equivalent of € 34 million, but denies
crime). In the spring of 2019, however, it was still
unclear if the evidence was sufficient for it to be a
Angola's former Vice President Manuel Vicente and
former chief of Angola's state oil company were indicted
in 2017 for attempting to bribe the Portuguese state
prosecutor to bring two charges against him for money
laundering (see Calendar) January 2018. In spring 2018,
a Portuguese court ruled that the legal process should
be moved to Angola.
According to the organization Transparency
International's index list of experienced Portugal in
2019 ranked 30 out of 180 countries (for list see here).
Judicial system and legal security
Legal certainty is high, but slow bureaucratic
procedures make the justice system ineffective and
prosecutors may have to wait a long time before their
case is tried in court.
Portugal is criticized by human rights organizations
for poor conditions for interns in overcrowded prisons.
There are also reports that detainees are being abused
by prison guards, and the police have been accused of
using too much force in the arrest. Particularly
vulnerable are Roma and people with an immigrant
Human rights are largely respected. In 2018, however,
18 police were charged with torture of six young black
The death penalty was abolished as early as 1867.
However, during the military dictatorship of 1926-174
there were extrajudicial executions sanctioned by the
state, so in practice the death penalty ended in 1974.
The criminal age is 16 years.
"Tax atomic bomb"
Parliament votes on a tightening budget for 2013 with tangible tax increases
and reduced sickness and unemployment benefits. The budget is met by protest
demonstrations, and the opposition calls it a "fiscal nuclear bomb".
Record large tax increases
The government decides on the largest tax increases made in democratic
Portugal. Protest demonstrations follow and the union calls for a general
Further disbursement of the emergency loan will come, but the government is
meeting with perhaps the biggest protests the country has experienced since the
1974 revolution. The government backs its proposal, but new plans for austerity
are followed by new union-led protests. The aim of the austerity measures is to
get green light for the entire rescue package of € 78 billion from the EU, IMF
New payment is approved
The IMF approves a new payment. The IMF disbursement concerns one and a half
billion euros of the emergency loan.
Portugal gets approved by the lenders
The EU, ECB and IMF give the country approval in the fourth quarter
evaluation of how it manages the loan terms. As a result, lenders can pay
another four billion euros. Portugal has so far been approved in all four
Four of the country's public holidays are abandoned for five years from 2013
to save money.
Portugal ratifies the European Pact
Portugal is the first country to ratify the European Pact.
Portugal signs the European Pact
The European Act, which is a binding agreement on how the euro area countries
should manage their budgetary discipline, is signed by Portugal.
The economic crisis deepens
Concerns are mounting in the euro area countries that Portugal will not be
able to pay off the EU and IMF aid loans. The interest rate on the country's
government bonds is rising. Continued cuts and labor market reforms provoke
strong popular protests and in the big cities, strikes are held that disrupt
large parts of society - public transport, education and health care.
New billions are paid out
Portugal receives praise in the EU and IMF quarterly evaluation and a new
charge of money is paid: EUR 14.9 billion.