Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Portugal is a unitary state composed of parishes (freguesias), municipalities (municípios) and autonomous regions.
Local level: 3,092 parishes (freguesias) and 308 municipalities (municípios)

The parish assembly (assembleia de freguesia) is the deliberative body of the parish and is composed of councillors elected by direct universal suffrage for a four-year period via a system of proportional representation.


The municipal assembly (assembleia municipal) is made up of the presidents of the municipality’s parishes and of members elected by direct universal suffrage for a four-year term. It is the municipality’s deliberative body and monitors the activities of the executive council.


The executive committee (junta de freguesia) is the parish’s executive body and members are elected for a period of four years by and from among the parish assembly’s members. The executive committee is responsible for preparing and implementing parish assembly decisions.


The executive council (câmara municipal) is the municipality’s executive branch and is composed of members elected by direct universal suffrage for a four-year period. Its members can also take part in the municipal assembly; however, they cannot vote. The executive council organises and implements municipal services, such as municipal planning and public works.


The president (presidente da junta de freguesia) is elected for a four-year mandate based on he/she  being the head of the list that receives the most votes. The president chairs the executive committee.


The mayor (presidente da câmara municipal) is elected for a four-year mandate and as the electoral candidate at the head of the list that receives the most votes during the election of the executive council. He/she presides over the work of the executive council.

Other Portuguese local self-government units exist alongside the municipalities and parishes, including authorities such as inter-municipal communities, associations of municipalities and metropolitan areas.

A primary aimthese authorities is to coordinate the municipal investments of inter-municipal interests. Otherareas of competence  include strategic, economic, social and territorial management.

  • Rural and urban infrastructure
  • Education
  • Culture, leisure and sport
  • Primary health care
  • Social action
  • Civil protection
  • Environment
  • Development
  • Urban and rural planning
  • Community protection
  • Investments
Regional level: 2 autonomous regions (Açores and Madeira)
The legislative assembly (assembleia legislativa) is composed of members elected by direct universal suffrage.

The president (president do governo regional) presides over the regional government for a period of four years.

CEMR in Portugal

National Association of Portuguese Municipalities (ANMP)
Secretary General: Rui SOLHEIRO
Associaçao Nacional de Municipios Portugueses
Av. Marnoco e Sousa 52, 3004-511 Coimbra
Tel.: +351 239 404 434
Fax: +351 239 701 862
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