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The modern day nation was established in 1988 following the reorganization of the Portuguese Empire into a federation of equal and sovereign states. The Portuguese Empire had been in existence since the 15th century, though with political dominance being controlled from Lisbon. From the end of World War II until the 1980s, Portugal was engaged in a civil war between the government in Lisbon and the native peoples fighting for independence.
Since the 1990s, Portugal has emerged as a unique nation spanning four continents (which Portugal has referred to as "pluricontinentalism") and has has also emerged as a global power of sorts.
Birth of the Commonwealth
Despite the continued dominance of the Estado Novo in Portuguese politics, by 1986 it was determined that neither the public nor members within the party itself were willing to continue the Colonial Wars in Africa. At the same time, however, many of the more hard-line members were unwilling to give up the nation's colonial possessions. The insurgencies in Angola and Mozambique were crushed, just to be replaced by extremely vocal pro-secession movements. The war in Guinea grew only increasingly more fierce, despite the invasion and overthrow of the Houphouët-Boigny regime in the Ivory Coast. At the same time, international pressure grew for a diplomatic solution to be found.
Finally, in November 1987, pro-democracy revolutionaries launching an uprising and toppled the Estado Novo. The new regime offered a compromise with the rebellious colonies. A federal system would be set up between Portugal and its colonies. The new system would allow the colonies to have greater control over internal matters while providing cooperation on matters relevant to the federation as a whole. Though the rebels were initially skeptical of the deal, they eventually saw its benefits and laid down their arms. On August 22, 1988, the Treaty of Porto officially created the Portuguese Commonwealth.
Work in Progress ...
The government operates on a system of federalism, where the various states within the Commonwealth handle domestic affairs, while all international affairs are handled by the Commonwealth leadership. As such, comparisons have been drawn between it and the United States under the Articles of Confederation, but it has easily been shown that this union is much stronger than the former, while the distribution of powers is not disputed.
Each of the states is able to write and operate under its own constitution, as long as it follows and does not oppose any of the laws set forth by the 1988 Commonwealth Constitution. As such, every one of the separate state governments are unique, yet follow the same basic principles.
The Commonwealth itself is set up into two branches. The executive branch is lead by the President of the Commonwealth, a rotating one-year Presidency whose position is shared with the other Heads of States. However, when it comes time for a nation to be next in line, that leader must be approved by a majority vote of the Commonwealth Parliament before actually attaining the office. If the vote of approval fails, the rotation immediately moves to the next state in line.
The President of the Commonwealth has similar powers as the President of the United States, including the possibility of vetoing resolutions, the calling of special sessions of Parliament, the appointing of judges and officers, command of the military forces, etc. In the counters against these actions, Parliament acts exactly as the United States House of Representatives and Senate would.
Parliament is elected to a three-year term to be served in Lisbon, though only two of those years are actually done serving the public interest. The last year is devoted to campaigning for reelection back in their home states against the opposition, though they continue to serve in Lisbon if they wish. One-third of Parliament is up for vote every year, in a rotating cycle. Elections follow proportional representation, therefore allowing the party leadership within the respective states to choose who to cut from office when forced to make the choice.
The election of a Prime Minister follows the same model as in Great Britain, with the formation of coalitions or, if the possibility arose, through simple majority vote among the delegates. The Prime Minister merely runs the functions within the Parliament, while reporting the goings-on directly to the President of the Commonwealth. However, he also is able to decide what issues are discussed on the floor at what times, along with their procedures for enactment, etc. A majority vote among the Parliaments delegates can override such powers, but it is a difficult and long process, usually preventing any legislation from passing in the Commonwealth Parliament that is not favorable to the Prime Minister himself.
If either the Prime Minister or President of the Commonwealth should prove to be unsuited for their duties, or not using their powers in the best interests of the people, they may be impeached by Parliament with a 60% vote and replaced by a majority vote.
- Algarve (Évora)
- Angola (Luanda)
- Azores (Ponta Delgada)
- Benguela (Benguela)
- Congo (Cabinda)
- Cape Verde (Praia)
- Daman and Diu (Daman)
- Delagoa (Lourenço Marques)
- Guinea (Bissau)
- India (Nova Goa)
- Macau (São Lourenço)
- Madeira (Funchal)
- Mozambique (Quelimane)
- Ophiussa (Leiria)
- São Tomé and Príncipe (Sao Tome)
- Timor (Dili)
The Commonwealth of Portugal has pursued a path of internationalism, a radical turn from the foreign policy that had been set by the "Estado Novo" government. However, though it could be argued that the Colonial Wars would serve to make them internationalists, these were at the time considered nothing more than domestic rebellion against the ruling leadership, and merely a protection of national sovereignty of domestic dissidents. While nominally an ally of the United States, and an open participant in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has criticized the latter for a lack of valid reasoning.
The Portuguese Commonwealth is a major power within the NATO organisation and leader of the Lusosphere.