Inevitably, once you have been in living in Portugal for a while, you will start to get a grip on Portuguese politics and become more aware of what’s going on in the country.

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On the face of it, the Portuguese political system is quite similar to that of the UK. However, for those who wish to get technical, the Wikipedia description of the Portuguese political system is that of a “semi-presidential parliamentary representative democratic republic.”

That sounds awfully complicated, but it basically means that the country has a prime minister who is head of government, and a President who is head of state.

Just like the UK, Portugal is currently running with a coalition government, formed of the right wing People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party – often referred to as “liberal conservatives”.

The prime minister is Pedro Passos Coelho. Leaving out the middle name, Pedro Coelho translates to “Peter Rabbit,” which provides the PM with a predictable nickname.

Subjectively speaking, Coelho isn’t a hugely popular figure. It could be argued that few prime ministers ever are, but Coelho is renowned for a certain arrogance.

Since Portugal’s financial bailout, a lot of key decisions have effectively been removed from the government’s hands anyway. Much of Portugal’s recent political controversy has been in relation to what many people see as the government kowtowing to their “troika paymasters.”

This anti-austerity attitude is far from unique to Portugal, but it came to a head in July 2013 when the finance minister (and architect of Portugal’s austerity) resigned. This was followed by other high-level resignations in the coalition, which for a time caused speculation that the government could collapse, prompting an early election.

However, the president intervened, saying that an early election would “derail” the bailout. As such, the ruling coalition is expected to remain in power until the end of its term in 2015, when the next election will take place.

As in the UK, Portugal also has local council elections. It’s not a widely known fact, but expats can register to vote in these by visiting their local Junta (town hall). Expats don’t qualify to vote in national elections until they have gained Portuguese citizenship.


Further reading for Living In Portugal

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Finding work in Portugal

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in Portugal.
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Social life in Portugal

The best way to get settled in Portugal is to find out as much as you can about your new community.
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Heathcare

One of the first things you need to do once you arrive in Portugal is find out where your nearest hospital is.
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Education in Portugal

Are you emigrating to Portugal with school-age children?
 

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