The Portuguese Constitution: between past and present, openness and national identity

Several distinct social and political sectors were represented in the constituent process leading to the Portuguese Constitution, resulting in a negotiated text that tried to balance conflicting interests, establishing a specific and coherent equilibrium between majority and minorities in the different areas of collective life. From that balance, a few original constitutional features emerged; they constitute the backbone of national constitutional identity: a ‘mixed’ form of government with a dominant parliament, a very strong fundamental rights catalogue, including many social and economic rights, a central place given to work and worker’s rights. The European integration process and the last decades’ political and social changes pose some challenges to national constitutions and the Portuguese is not an exception. My paper will reflect upon the path to balance between past and present, openness and the safeguarding of national fundamental consensus.