Council of State (Portugal)

The Council of State (Portuguese: Conselho de Estado, IPA: [kõˈsɐʎu ðɨ (ɨ)ʃˈtaðu]) is a body established by the Portuguese Constitution to advise the President of the Republic in the exercise of many of his or her discretionary powers.[1][2][3]


Although there are notices about the existence of a Council of State in Portugal before 1385, the first permanent regiment for its functioning was established by King Sebastian through his charter of 8 September 1569.

The Council of State continued to exist after the establishment of the Constitutional Monarchy in 1821. It was foreseen in the Portuguese Constitutions of 1822, 1826 and 1838.

After the 5 October 1910 revolution that established the Republic in Portugal, the Council of State was abolished, not being foreseen in the Constitution of 1911.

The Council of State was reestablished by the Constitution of 1933. It was again not foreseen by the Constitution of 1976. However, it was reestablished in 1984, following the revision of the Constitution of 1982.


Besides summoning and advising the President whenever asked to do so by him/her, according to the Constitution the Council must be summoned by the President before:[1]

It must also be summoned by the acting President before:

  • setting the date for any election;
  • calling an extraordinary sitting of the Parliament;
  • appointing the Prime Minister;
  • appointing and discharging, upon a proposal from the Govt., the President of the Court of Auditors, the Attorney General and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CGSAF);
  • appointing and discharging, upon a proposal from the Govt. and after consulting the CGSAF, an eventual Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the Chiefs of Staff of the three armed services;
  • exercising the functions of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces;
  • appointing ambassadors and extraordinary envoys (upon a proposal from the Govt.), and
  • accrediting foreign diplomatic representatives.


According to article 142 of the Constitution, the Council is composed of the following members:[1][2]

Members of the Council are immune from prosecution: they may not be brought before a court of law without prior agreement of the Council to lift their immunity or they are no longer serving on the Council.

Current membersEdit

Office Member[4]
President of the Republic and chair of the Council Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
President of the Assembly of the Republic Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues
Prime Minister António Costa
President of the Constitutional Court João Caupers
Ombudsman Maria Lúcia Amaral
President of the Regional Government of Azores José Manuel Bolieiro
President of the Regional Government of Madeira Miguel Albuquerque
Former elected Presidents of the Republic António Ramalho Eanes
Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Designated by the President of the Republic António Damâsio
Luís Marques Mendes
António Lobo Xavier
Leonor Beleza
Lídia Jorge
Elected by the Assembly of the Republic Carlos César
Francisco Louçã
Domingos Abrantes
Francisco Pinto Balsemão
Adriano Moreira

Former membersEdit

Office Member
Former elected President Mário Soares (1996–2017)
Jorge Sampaio (2006–2021)
Designated by President Rebelo de Sousa (2016-incumbent) António Guterres (resigned Nov. 2016)
Eduardo Lourenço (died 1 Dec. 2020)
Designated by President Aníbal Cavaco Silva (2006-2016) Leonor Beleza
João Lobo Antunes
António Bagão Félix
Vítor Bento
Designated by President Jorge Sampaio (1996-2006) Carlos Carvalhas
Ernesto Melo Antunes (died 10 Aug 1999)
João Cravinho (2000-2006)
José Galvão Teles
Maria de Jesus Serra Lopes
Vítor Constâncio
Elected by Parliament in 2011 Francisco Pinto Balsemão
António José Seguro (resigned Sep. 2014)
Alfredo Bruto da Costa (replaced Seguro)
Luís Marques Mendes
Manuel Alegre
Luís Filipe Menezes


  1. ^ a b c "Constitution of the Portuguese Republic" (PDF). Assembleia da República. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Portugal - The Council of State". Country Studies. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Portugal - Government and society". Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 January 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Council of State - Members". Presidency of the Portuguese Republic. Retrieved 12 January 2019.