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Portugal Legal System

Essay by review  •  February 4, 2011  •  Essay  •  398 Words (2 Pages)  •  834 Views

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Portugal used to be a country which was governed by Monarchs until 1920. The country went through several years of instability until it settled into a dictatorship in 1926. The country's resources began to drain and weakened the economy because of costly colonial wars under the dictatorship's rule. However due to a military coup d'etat in 1974 the dictatorship ended. After that, it had a series of interim military governments before finally settling into a parliamentary democracy in 1976, which is made up a republic with a president and a single chamber legislature.

The legal system of Portugal is very similar to the United States in several ways, which is one of the reasons that make it an attractive location for foreign direct investment. The Portuguese legal system includes a constitution that guarantees all the citizens of Portugal the basic rights which include freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Like the United States, its citizens ages 18 and older have the right to vote. In addition, censorship and capital punishment are prohibited.

Portugal's similarities to the United States do not just end there. The country also has a legal system that is compromised of an Executive, Legislative and Judicial branch. Its Executive Branch is shared by a president and prime minister. The president is elected for a five year term and can only serve a maximum of two terms. The president is the commander and chief of the armed forces and has the right to:

Ð'* appoint and dismiss the prime minister

Ð'* veto legislation passed by the legislature

Ð'* set election dates

Ð'* direct foreign policy

The prime minister role is to lead the government with a cabinet of 15 ministers. He is responsible for:

Ð'* creating government policy

Ð'* formulating the budget

Ð'* supervising public administration

The Legislative Branch is made of a single chamber parliament, which is made up of a 230 member Assembly of the Republic. They are elected under a system of proportional representation and serve four year terms.



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