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Home >> Your voice in Europe >> Portugal >> Electoral law

Portugal - Electoral Law
(Election to the European Parliament : 13 June 2004)

1. LEGAL BASIS
  • European Parliamentary Elections Act, Law No 14/87, 29 April 1987 (as amended by Law No 4/94, 9 March and Organic Law No 1/99, 22 June);
  • act concerning the election of the representatives of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage as amended by a Council decision of 25 June 2002 and 23 September 2002;
  • electoral law of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, Law No 14/79, of 16 May;

Directive 93/109/EC, 6 December 1993, laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals.

2. ELECTORAL SYSTEM
A single constituency , pursuant to Article 2 of the European Parliamentary Elections Act, Law No 14/87, 29 April (as amended by Law No 4/94, 9 March and Organic Law No 1/99, 22 June).
Ordered list system of proportional representation , using the d'Hondt method.
3. REGISTRATION OF CANDIDATES
Deadline for registration: until 41 days before the date of the election.
Declarations of candidacy:
  • Must be lodged with the Constitutional Court.
  • Lists must include as many candidates as there are Members to be elected plus a minimum of three, and a maximum of eight, substitute candidates.
  • When registering as candidates, the notifications of candidacy deposited by candidates who are not Portuguese nationals must be accompanied by a formal declaration stating the candidate's nationality and address in Portugal and certifying that he or she is not simultaneously standing for election in another Member State (nationality, address, name).
  • Candidates must certify that they have not been disqualified from standing for office in their Member State of origin.

Parity rules: none.

Incompatibilities: Those specified in the European Parliamentary Elections Act, Law No 14/87, 29 April.

These are as follows:

The office of Member of the European Parliament is incompatible with holding office as a Member of the Portuguese Government/Minister of the Republic (Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores)/ Member of the Supreme Council of Magistrates/Public Prosecutor of the Republic/Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman/Member of the government bodies of the Autonomous Regions/Civil Governor and Vice-Governor/Mayor and full-time Deputy Mayor/President of the Economic and Social Council/Member of the High Authority for Social Communications, the National Commission for the Protection of Computerised Personal Data and the Committee on Access to the Administrative Documents/Senior government administrator and member of the board of a public institution/Member of the board of a company whose capital is wholly or mainly State-owned.

The office of MEP is also incompatible with:

  • posts involving diplomatic duties in connection with representing Portugal abroad;
  • posts covered by Article 2 of Decree Law No 196/93, of 27 May (which lays down rules on incompatibility of staff appointed by holders of political office);
  • any posts listed under point 1 of Article 6 of the Community Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the representatives of the European Parliament which are not included among the foregoing.

The office of MEP is also incompatible with:

  • holding office as a civil servant or agent of the State or other public bodies, apart from lecturers working in higher education in an honorary capacity and persons carrying out research activities;
  • holding office as a Member of the Assembly of the Republic.

Any incompatibilities laid down in the act concerning the election of the representatives of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage (1976) and the Council decision of 25 June 2002 and 23 September 2002 in addition to those listed above.

4. POLLING DAY : 13 JUNE 2004
Polling hours : Polling stations will be open between 8.00 and 19.00. (NB: in view of the time difference between mainland Portugal and the Azores, polling stations in the autonomous region of the Azores will close an hour later than on the mainland, i.e. at 20.00).
The count begins: at 19.00.
Provisional results: published from 22.00 (21.00 in mainland Portugal).
Final results: will be announced by a general verification assembly, which will commence its work at 9.00 on the 10th day after the election day, at the Constitutional Court.
5. VOTING / STANDING FOR ELECTION
Entry on electoral rolls: up to 60 days before the date of the elections.
Right to vote: Any EU citizen aged 18 or over and fully entitled to vote in his or her country of origin.
Right to stand for election: Any EU citizen aged 18 or over and fully entitled to stand for election in his or her country of origin.
The following are not entitled to stand for election: President of the Republic/Prime Minister/Current holders of the office of Civil Governor or Deputy Civil Governor/Any citizens disqualified from standing for election under the legislation applying to elections to the Assembly of the Republic/Any citizens holding office as diplomats on the date of registration of candidacy who are not covered by the above provision/Any judges currently holding office who are not covered by the penultimate provision/Members of the National Electoral Commission/Any citizens disqualified under the applicable Community provisions.
6. ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Funding:

This is covered by the rules laid down in the law on the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns, Law No 51/98 of 18 August (a new law on the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns has already been published, but will not enter into force until 1 January 2005).

Electoral campaigns are funded by the following:

  • State subsidies;
  • contributions from the political parties;
  • gifts from natural persons, subject to the relevant rules.

The right to State subsidy is granted to all parties which have previously stood for election to the European Parliament and obtained seats, the total amount of the subsidy is the equivalent of 5 000 times the national minimum monthly wage (EUR 365.60).

These funds are allocated as follows:

  • 20% to parties which stand for election but do not obtain seats;
  • the remaining 80% are distributed in proportion to the results obtained.

Campaign expenses: the limit is laid down by the law on the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns at 144 times the minimum national monthly wage per candidate.

Official duration of the campaign: 12 days (the campaign begins 14 days before the date of the elections and must end at 24.00 on the day before the election), unless the election takes place on the same day as elections to the Assembly of the Republic. In that event, the duration of the campaign will be the same as the campaign for elections to the Assembly of the Republic.

Media access: candidates have a right to broadcasting time. The rules are laid down by the law on elections to the Assembly of the Republic.

Opinion polls: no polls may be published or discussed on the day before the election or on the election day itself.