The Portuguese Government And Economy
Government and Politics
Portugal is a democratic republic with an established system of government, both presidential and parliamentary. The four main organs of Portuguese politics are; the President, the Parliament, the Council of Ministers (government) headed by a Prime Minister and the courts.
The President is elected to a five-year term and some of the presidential powers include appointing the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. The current President is called Aníbal Cavasco Silva and was elected in March 2006 and is a member of PSD – Portugal’s Social Democratic Party.
The Prime Minister is the head of the government and names the Council of Ministers including state secretaries. The present Prime Minister is José Sócrates and was elected in 2005 and is also the leader of PS – the Portuguese Socialist party.
Both the regional and the national governments have for many years been dominated by two political parties; PSD, a liberal conservative Social Democratic Party and PS, a Social Democratic Party. Both parties have similar political views with a strong focus on market economy and very pro-European.
Portugal joined the European Union in 1986.
In general, Portugal’s financial system is well managed, competitive and healthy and since its membership of the European Union in 1986, Portugal has experienced a stable economic growth and expansion mainly due to improved trade contacts with other European counties. After joining the EU many Portuguese companies have also grown and expanded internationally, some of the more notable are Portugal telecom and Millennium bcp.
Some of the main industries in Portugal are; oil, electrical and electronics industries, textile and leather, furniture, beverages and food industry and cork. Portugal is actually the world’s largest producer of cork as well as being one of the world’s biggest producers of wine. Port wine, with a production of 15 million litres annually, is one of Portugal’s main exports.
Portugal is a country dominated by agriculture, and around 75 percent of the agriculture and cattle production are exported to other countries. The fishing industry and the olive oil production are also important to the national economy. The tourist industry is also important to Portugal’s economy and especially in the Algarve a large part of the national income is generated by this business which is also a valuable source of foreign currency.
The main part of Portugal’s exports goes to countries who are also member of the European Union and the main part of imports also come from member states like France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
The Portuguese government has put a lot of effort into, and as a result made considerable progress in, raising the standard of living. The unemployment rate is reasonably low, a recently published research about quality of life placed Portugal high on list ahead of countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Portugal’s central bank is called Banco de Portugal and the two largest banks are Banco Comercial Português and the state-owned Caixa Geral de Depositos. In 2002 Portugal replaced the national currency Escudos with the Euro.