Article 10

(Universal suffrage and political parties)

1. The people shall exercise political power by means of universal, equal, direct, secret and periodic suffrage, referendum and the other forms provided for in this Constitution.

2. Political parties shall contribute to the organisation and expression of the will of the people, with respect for the principles of national independence, the unity of the state and political democracy.


Article 115


1. In cases provided for in, and as laid down by, this Constitution and the law, following a proposal from the Assembly of the Republic or the Government in relation to matters that fall under their respective responsibilities, the President of the Republic may decide to call upon citizens who are registered to vote in Portuguese territory to directly and bindingly pronounce themselves by referendum.

2. Referenda may also be held on the initiative of citizens who submit a request to the Assembly of the Republic. Such requests shall be submitted and considered under the terms and within the time limits laid down by law.

3. The object of a referendum shall be limited to important issues concerning the national interest upon which the Assembly of the Republic or the Government must decide by passing an international agreement or by passing legislation.
4. The following shall not be subject to referendum:

a) Alterations to this Constitution;

b) Issues and acts with a budgetary, tax-related or financial content;

c) The matters provided for in Article 161, without prejudice to the provisions of the following paragraph;

d) The matters provided for in Article 164, save the provisions of subparagraph i).

5. The provisions of the previous paragraph shall not prejudice the submission to referendum of such important issues concerning the national interest as should be the object of an international agreement pursuant to Article 161i, except when they concern peace or the rectification of borders.

6. Each referendum shall only address one matter. Questions shall be objectively, clearly and precisely formulated, shall solicit yes or no answers, and shall not exceed a maximum number to be laid down by law. The law shall also lay down the other terms governing the formulation and holding of referenda.

7. Referenda shall not be called or held between the dates on which general elections for the bodies that exercise sovereign power, elections for the self-government bodies of the autonomous regions, for local authority bodies and for Members of the European Parliament are called and those on which they are held.

8. The President of the Republic shall submit all draft referenda submitted to him by the Assembly of the Republic or the Government, to compulsory prior determination of their constitutionality and legality.

9. The provisions of Article 113(1), (2), (3), (4) and (7) shall apply to referenda, mutatis mutandis.

10. Draft referenda that are refused by the President of the Republic or are negatived by the electorate shall not be resubmitted during the same legislative session, save new elections to the Assembly of the Republic, or until the Government resigns or is removed.

11. Referenda shall only be binding in the event that the number of voters exceeds half the number of registered electors.

12. Citizens who reside abroad and are properly registered to vote under the provisions of Article 121(2) shall be called upon to take part in referenda that address matters which specifically also concern them.

13. Referenda may be regional in scope, in accordance with Article 232(2).

Article 134

(Personal responsibilities)

The President of the Republic shall be personally responsible for:
c) Submitting important issues of national interest, as laid down in Article 115, and those referred to in Articles 232(2) and 256(3), to referendum;

Article 161

(Political and legislative responsibilities)

The Assembly of the Republic shall be responsible for:
j) Proposing to the President of the Republic that important issues of national interest be submitted to referendum;

Article 197

(Political responsibilities)

1. In the exercise of its political functions the Government shall be responsible for:
e) In accordance with Article 115, proposing to the President of the Republic that important matters of national interest be subjected to referendum;

Article 240

(Local referenda)

1. In such cases, under such terms and with such effect as the law may lay down, local authorities may submit matters that are included within the responsibilities of the local authority bodies to referendum by those of their citizens who are registered to vote.

2. The law may grant the right to initiate referenda to registered electors.

Article 295

(Referendum on European Treaty)

The provisions of Article 115(3) shall not prejudice the possibility of calling and holding a referendum on the approval of a treaty aimed at the construction and deepening of the European Union.