Constitution of the Portuguese Republic of April 2, 1976

(Fourth Revision of September 20, 1997)



Principle of universality

1. All citizens shall enjoy the rights and be subject to the duties laid down in this Constitution.

2. Corporate bodies shall enjoy such rights and be subject to such duties as are compatible with their nature.



Legal application

1. The constitutional provisions relating to rights, freedoms and guarantees shall be directly applicable to, and binding on, both public and private bodies.

2. Rights, freedoms and guarantees may be restricted by law in only those cases expressly provided for in this Constitution; restrictions shall be limited to the extent necessary to safeguard other rights or interests protected by this Constitution.

3. Laws restricting rights, freedoms and guarantees shall be general and abstract in character, shall not have retroactive effect and shall not limit, in extent or scope, the essential content of the constitutional provisions.



Freedom of expression and information

1. Everyone has the right to express and publicise his or her thoughts freely, by words, images or other means, and the right to impart, obtain and receive information without hindrance or discrimination.


4. The rights to reply and to make corrections, and the right to compensation for loss suffered, shall be equally and effectively guaranteed to all individuals and corporate persons.



Right to broadcasting time, to reply and to political argument

1. Political parties, trade unions, professional organisations and organisations representing economic interests, as well as other nationally based social organisations, have the right to broadcasting time on publicly owned radio and television, to the extent to which they are relevant and representative and meet the objective criteria that shall be prescribed by the law.

2. Political parties represented in the Assembly of the Republic, but not in the Government, have the right to broadcasting time on publicly owned radio and television, in proportion to their representation, and have the right to reply and to political argument with respect to the political statements of the Government, as provided by law. The grant of the exercise of those rights shall be equivalent, in length and relevance, to that granted to the Government. Parties represented in the regional legislative assemblies shall enjoy the same rights at the level of their region.

3. During elections, candidates have the right to regular and equitable broadcasting time on radio and television stations of national and regional importance as provided by law.



Right to assemble and demonstrate

1. Citizens have the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed, even in public places, without prior authorisation.

2. The right of all citizens to demonstrate shall be recognised.


Freedom of association

1. Citizens have the right to form associations freely and without prior authorisation, provided that the associations are not intended to promote violence and that their objectives are not contrary to the criminal law.

2. Associations may pursue their objectives freely and without interference form any public authority, and they may not be dissolved by the State, nor their activities suspended, unless by judicial decision in the circumstances prescribed by law.

3. No one shall be put under a duty to join an association or compelled to remain in it.

4. Armed, quasi-military, militarised or paramilitary associations, other than those of the State or the Armed Forces, and racist organisations or those that adopt fascist ideology are not permitted.



Participation in public life

1. All citizens have the right to take part in political life and in the direction of the public affairs of the country, either directly or through freely elected representatives.

2. Every citizen has the right to objective information about the activities of the State and other public bodies and to be informed by the Government and other authorities about the management of public affairs.



Political associations and parties

1. Freedom of association includes the right to establish and join political associations and parties, and, through them, to work jointly and democratically to give expression to the will of the people and to organise political power.

2. No one shall be a member of more than one political party at the same time, or be prevented from exercising any right by reason of membership, or the termination of membership, of a lawfully constituted party.

3. Without prejudice to the philosophy or ideology underlying their programmes, political parties shall not use names that contain expressions directly connected with any religion or church, or use emblems that may be mistaken for national or religious symbols.

4. No party shall be established with a name or stated aims that indicate a regional connection or field of action.

5. Political parties must be governed by the principles of transparency, democratic organisation and management and the participation of all of its members.

6. The law shall lay down regulations on the financing of political parties, specifically in relation to the requirements and limits of public financing, as well as requirements of publicity relating to their property and accounts.


Right to petition and right of actio popularis

1. All citizens have the right to submit, individually or jointly with others, petitions, representations, claims or complaints to the organs with supreme authority or any authority, for the purpose of defending their rights, this Constitution, the law or the general interest, as well as the right to be informed, within a reasonable time, of the result of the respective consideration.

2. The law shall determine the conditions under which joint petitions submitted to the Assembly of the Republic may be examined in plenary session.

3. Everyone, personally or through associations that purport to defend the interests in issue, enjoys the right of actio popularis in the cases and under the conditions provided by law, including the right to advocate, on behalf of the aggrieved party or parties, the following:

a) to promote the prevention, the suppression and the prosecution of offences against public health, consumer rights, the quality of life, the preservation of the environment and the cultural heritage;

b) to safeguard the property of the State, of the autonomous regions and of the local authorities.



Workers' committees

1. Workers have the right to establish workers' committees for the defence of their interests and to secure a democratic share in the management of their enterprise.

2. The establishment of committees shall be determined by the workers, who shall also approve their constitutions and elect their members by direct and secret ballot.

5. Workers' committees have the right:


d. To participate in the preparation of labour legislation, and social and economic plans, that concern their sector;



Trade union freedoms

1. Workers are free to form trade unions as a prerequisite and guarantee for the building of their solidarity in defence of their rights and interests.

2. Trade union freedoms are guaranteed to workers without discrimination, in particular the following:

a. Freedom to establish trade unions at every level;

b. Freedom of membership, no worker being required to pay dues to a trade union of which he or she is not a member;

c. Freedom in the organisation and internal regulation of trade unions;

d. The right to engage in trade union activity within businesses;

e. The right of trade unions to different aims, as determined by their constitutions.

3. Trade unions shall be governed in accordance with the principles of democratic organisation and management, based on regular elections to their governing bodies by secret ballot, and they shall not be dependent on any prior authorisation or recognition, as they are founded upon the full participation by the workers in all aspects of trade union activity.

4. Trade unions shall be independent of employers, the State and religious denominations and political parties and other political associations. Adequate guarantees for that independence shall be laid down by law as the foundation for the solidarity of the working classes.

5. Trade unions have the right to establish relations with or to join international trade union organisations.

6. The workers' elected representatives shall enjoy the right of information and consultation as well as adequate legal protection from any form of constraint, coercion or limitation in the legitimate performance of their functions.


Rights of trade unions and collective agreements

1. Trade unions have the right to defend and promote the defence of the rights and interests of the workers they represent.

2. Trade unions have the right:

a. To participate in the preparation of labour legislation…



Consumer rights


3. Consumer associations and consumer co-operatives are entitled, in accordance with the law, to State support and to be consulted on questions concerning consumer protection. Their capacity to institute legal proceedings in order to defend their associates or collective or general interests shall be recognised.




2. The State has the duty of protecting the family, in particular by:


g. Determining, after consultation with associations representing families, and implementing an overall and integrated policy for the family.





3. In conjunction with families, schools, businesses, organisations of residents, cultural associations and foundations and cultural and recreational groups, the State shall promote and assist youth organisations in the pursuit of those objectives, and international exchanges of young people.


Citizens with disabilities


3. The State shall provide assistance to organisations for citizens with disabilities.



Education, culture and science


3. In conjunction with the mass media, cultural associations and foundations, cultural and recreational groups, associations for the protection of the cultural heritage, organisations of residents and other cultural agencies, the State shall promote the democratisation of culture by encouraging and guaranteeing access by all citizens to the fruits of culture and culture creativity.

4. Scientific creativity and research, and technological innovation, shall be encouraged and supported by the State, so as to ensure its freedom and autonomy, strengthening competitiveness and the connections between scientific institutions and companies.



Democratic participation in education

1. Teachers and students have the right to participate in the democratic management of their schools in accordance with the law.

2. The law shall regulate the manner of participation of associations of teachers, students and parents and of the scientific community and institutions in the determination of the policy for education.



Restrictions on the exercise of rights

The law may prescribe restrictions on the freedom of expression, meetings, demonstration, association, and collective petitioning, and on the capacity to stand for election of permanent staff members of the military and the security forces when on active service, as well as for agents of the security services and forces, to the extent made necessary by their particular functions.