According to the Portuguese Constitution the Government is one of the sovereignty bodies and is responsible for the country’s general political steering. It also stands as the public administration higher entity being accountable to the President of the Republic and the Parliament.


The government has political, legislative and executive powers.

executive power (competence)

The Government’s executive power includes three roles:

  1. Ensure law enforcement;
  2. Ensure Public Administration proper functioning;
  3. Promote society’s needs satisfaction.

Within the scope of its executive power and while standing as public administration higher entity is incumbent upon the Government the direct, civil and military, state administration services and activities steering; indirect state administration supervision as well as the autonomous administration monitoring (limited to legality control).


Government is composed of the Prime Minister, Ministers, State Secretaries and Under-secretaries, with the possibility to include one or more Deputy Prime Ministers.

prime minister

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic after consulting with the parties represented in the Parliament and taking into consideration the electoral results. The Government’s general political steering, the Ministers’ action coordination and guidance plus the Government’s functioning and general relations with the other State bodies’ falls upon the Prime Minister’s competencies.

The Prime Minister may have one or more departments under his/her direct supervision which are managed by Deputy Ministers or State Secretaries. It is further incumbent upon the Prime-Minister the Presidency of the Council of Ministers services and corresponding State Secretariats management and guidance.


The Ministers, also appointed by the President of the Republic according to the Prime Minister’s proposal, shall implement the policies set for their ministries being responsible for their executive management. Ministries number, designation and competencies are set by the Ministers’ appointment decrees or by decree-law.

state secretaries and deputy state secretaries

The State Secretaries and Deputy State Secretaries, also appointed by the President of the Republic according to the Prime Minister’s proposal are deemed as part of the Government but shall not attend the Council of Ministers unless they are called to take part in some meetings. They have not political or legislative functions, performing only delegated competencies under the Ministers direct guidance, being accountable to the latter and to the Prime Minister.

council of ministers

The Council of Ministers is a collegiate body presided over by the Prime Minister and is composed of the Deputy Prime Ministers (if there are any) and Ministers.

There may be specialized Council of Ministers according to the subject under review, composed only of some of its members, performing the competencies granted to them by law or delegated by the Council of Ministers.

The Prime Minister, the Ministers, the State Secretaries and Deputy State Secretaries may also individually perform the Government’s competencies.