The Presentist Portuguese Constitution
in Richard Albert (ed.) The Architecture of Constitutional Amendments: History, Law, Politics, Hart Publishing, 2023, pp. 29-42, forthcoming
19 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2023
Date Written: 2023
This paper starts by describing the Portuguese Constitution of 1976, which is a fully aspirational and long post-revolutionary constitutional text. It will then explore the rigid Portuguese constitutional amendment design and the respective model of codification. The Portuguese Constitution bears the lengthiest unamendable clause in the world and consecrates formal limitations to constitutional change (temporal, procedural and circumstantial). The two major consequences of the option for the invisible model are that constitutional amendments need to be explicit and that the appendative technique is rejected. Still, when compared to the classical example of amendment invisibility – Ireland – the Portuguese Constitution holds some differences. I conclude with some brief observations regarding the un(conscious) choice of an invisible model in Portugal. Overall, when opting for an invisible mode, the values of coherence and clarity outweigh the absent lesson on constitutional law history.
Keywords: constitutional amendment; amendment codification; invisible model; constitutional design; coherence and clarity; constitutional primacy
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