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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Main executive and legislative bodies


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.2Main executive and legislative bodies

Last update: 28 March 2024

The Portuguese state is a semi-presidential constitutional republic. There are four sovereign bodies in Portugal:

  • The President of the Republic, who guarantees national independence and the unity of the state.
  • Parliament, which has legislative power (both are elected by universal suffrage).
  • the Government, led by the Prime Minister and has executive power.
  • the courts, which exercise judicial power.

The Azores and Madeira archipelagos are autonomous regions with governments and legislative regional assemblies with their own powers.

The bodies of local power are municipalities and freguesias (parishes).

The Ministry of Education (pre-primary education, basic and secondary education), together with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (higher education), define, coordinate, implement and evaluate national policies for the education system, science and information society, articulating them as policies for qualifications and vocational training.

The Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security (MTSSS) has responsibilities regarding early childhood education and care for children up to three years old. It also has duties and competences in terms of training and recognition of vocational qualifications and the certification of training bodies, from ANQEP, I.P., a public institute indirectly subject to state administration under the supervision and responsibility of the Ministries of Education, and Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition.

The ME, the MCTES and the MTSSS fulfil their duties via direct state administration services, indirect state administration bodies, advisory bodies, other structures and bodies that are part of the state business sector.

In the Azores and Madeira Autonomous Regions, education is the responsibility of the regional governments, via the respective regional secretariats for education, which adapt national education policy to a regional plan and manage human, material and financial resources.

In accordance with the  23rd Government Organic Law, the central bodies regarding education are the following:

Other services with administrative and financial autonomy are partners of the different departments and organisations of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security :

•       IAVE

•       IGeFE

•       ANQEP.

To learn more about the organisation and governance of the national education system, and the duties of each of these bodies, see Subchapter 2.6 Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level.