Constitution. – The constitution currently in force in Portugal, after being approved with a popular plebiscite on March 18, 1933, entered into force on April 11, 1933. It replaces the previous constitution of August 20, 1911, which, already revised in some points by subsequent laws, has now been profoundly modified, especially as regards the legislative power. For it, the Portuguese nation, constituted in a unitary state, under a republican regime, is governed by a president elected for seven years by direct suffrage by the voting citizens. His powers have been greatly extended by the new constitution: among other things, the ministers, with whose help he exercises executive power, are accountable only to him. The head of state has the council of state as an advisory body, composed of 10 members (including the president of the council of ministers and the president of the National Assembly). Legislative power is exercised by the National Assembly with the assistance of the government. The National Assembly is made up of a single chamber made up of 90 deputies, elected by direct suffrage by the voting citizens. The deputies remain in office for four years. As a consultative body of the National Assembly there is the Corporate Chamber, which is composed of representatives of local authorities and of social interests, considered in their fundamental branches of an administrative, moral, cultural and economic nature.
Religion. – Under the monarchy, the Catholic religion was the religion of the state; the republican government first implemented a regime of separation inspired largely by French laws, so that, after protests from the Holy See, diplomatic relations also broke down (1913), however resumed in 1918. For Portugal religion, please check thereligionfaqs.com.
The Catholic hierarchy includes the ecclesiastical provinces of Braga (4th century; metropolitan, 12th century), with suffragans Bragança (1545), Coimbra (6th century), Lamego (re-established, 12th century); of Évora (4th century; underground, 1540), with suffragans Beja (1770), Faro (1577); and the patriarchate of Lisbon (4th century); underground, 1394; patriarchy, 1716), with suffragans Guarda (6th century), Leiria (1545; suppressed, 1881; re-established, 1918), Portalegre (1550).
The vast majority of the population is Catholic. The various reformed denominations have a few thousand adherents, mostly Anglicans, concentrated in the seaside resorts, especially Lisbon and Oporto, where there are also small Lutheran communities (that of Lisbon, founded in 1759).
Finances. – Budgets and public debt. – The main income chapter of the Portuguese budget is that deriving from indirect taxation (especially from import duties); however, direct taxes (especially land, industrial and free property transfers) also have considerable importance. The major expenditures are those disbursed for national defense, for the service of the public debt and for public education.
The contraction in ordinary revenues has led to the creation of new taxes and to the exacerbation of existing ones, especially since the expenses, as a consequence of the reconstitution of the navy and of the whole policy of valorisation of the country, tend to increase.
The Portuguese public debt in the financial years considered has undergone a decrease of about half a billion escudos. Its total, net of securities held by the state, was escudos of 7,545 million as of June 30, 1933, of which 3,340 million of external debt, 3474 of consolidated internal debt and 731 of floating debt. At the same date, credit balances, deposits and treasury holdings at home and abroad amounted to 575 million.
Money and credit. – The monetary unit is the gold escudo weighing 0.0739 g. to 900/1000 of up. The English sovereign and the half sovereign continue to be legal tender in the country at the respective exchange rates of 110 and 55 gold escudos.
The Bank of Portugal is a state bank and enjoys the privilege of issuing, a privilege which has recently been extended to it for 30 years (law 9 June 1931). The limit, never reached so far, of 2,200,000 contos (one account = 1000 escudos) has been set on the fiduciary circulation. At the end of 1933, notes in circulation reached a total of 1989 million escudos and the gold reserve amounted to 770 million escudos.
On 22 September 1931 Portugal suspended the convertibility of its notes into gold. Given the persistent soundness of the balance sheet, however, monetary circulation is determined only by economic conditions and not by the needs of the treasury.
Public education. – Teaching in Portugal underwent a radical transformation with the advent of the republic (5 October 1910), which led to the complete secularization of the school. Portuguese universities, which can be accessed after a seven-year middle school course (liceu), there are three: Lisbon, Coimbra and Oporto. The oldest is that of Coimbra, still based mainly on philology, but which, like that of Lisbon, which is now more flourishing, includes all the faculties, while that of Oporto is exclusively scientific. The famous theological faculty of Évora was closed after the expulsion of the Jesuits. There are also the primary teaching school for teacher training, the Technical Higher Institute of Lisbon, the Faculty of Engineering of Porto and the Higher Institute of Economic and Financial Sciences of Lisbon. From universities, at the end of the courses, you leave licenciados: to obtain the title of doutor a special public test and the carrying out of original work on a particular scientific topic are required. In general the average teaching. and the higher one function regularly and effectively with strictly scientific criteria. Primary education, which lasts four years, is, on the other hand, still in a phase of development: it is not compulsory and does not have a sufficient number of schools and teachers, so illiteracy, although rapidly decreasing, is still growing. relevant percentage.