Portugal has a long and distinguished history as a world power, first under a series of monarchies and then as a democracy.
The first significant modern event in Portugal was the establishment of the First Republic in 1910 which also saw an end to a constitutional monarchy. The first republic lasted until May 1926 when a military coup brought in a new regime.
The Second Republic or Estado Novo (New State) was established in 1933 with António de Oliveira Salazar as its head. He ruled Portugal until 1968 under what was an authoritarian regime.
In 1974 there was a further bloodless left wing military coup which was dubbed the Carnation Revolution and led to the Third Republic. This brought in the modern era of a parliamentary democracy when a new constitution was introduced in 1976. The first elections of this era saw the Socialist Party win 116 seats in the 250 seat Constituent Assembly.
Subsequent to the 1976 constitution, there have been six revisions which have slowly moved the country away from a left wing constitution. In 1982 a revision of the constitution placed the military under civilian control.
In 1986 Portugal joined the European Union, further enhancing her democratic credentials.
Throughout the period from 1975 to the present day, the two main parties involved in government have been the Socialist Party (PS) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD).
Most recently, the Socialists have governed the country from 1995 to 2002 (winning in 1999) and again from 2005 (winning in 2009) to the present day.
The Social Democrats won the 1985 general election but needed support in the Assembly of the Republic. They went on to win the 1987 and 1991 elections outright and were in power for ten years under the leadership of Anibal Cavaco Silva, the current President of Portugal who was re-elected in January 2011.
In 2002 the Social Democrats won under the leadership of José Manuel Barroso who is the current president of the European Commission, but lost again in 2005.
The President is elected by popular vote for a five year term and if any candidate fails to get 50% + 1 votes then a second round will be held between the two candidates with the greatest number of votes.
The role of the President is mainly ceremonial, but he can influence political activities, appoint Prime Ministers, dissolve Parliament and call elections.
Unicameral. The Assembly of the Republic has 230 members elected by popular vote to serve four year terms.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Portugal at joint 29th out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 62 (where 100 is least corrupt).