Portugal’s mainland has two zones that are nearly as distinct from each other as two regions of the same country can be. These zones are the northern and the southern parts of the country. While the northern part of the country has a rugged terrain of mountainous topography that is cris-crossed by rivers, the southern part is characterized by vast expanses of planes that roll into each other. This makes the southern climate much warmer though its rather drier that the northern side of the country. The climatic conditions of the country are also quite varied in the two different regions with annual temperatures ranging from 13˚C in the colder north to 50˚C in the warmer south (DanDan Weatherman.Web). This has highly influenced the social activities practiced in these two regions. The country enjoys a Mediterranean climate and records annual rainfall ranging from 600mm in the south to over 3000mm in the northern parts of the country. The southern side has a unique oceanic territory that has tropical climate due to influences gulf stream on the sea are and it records temperatures of 20˚ C and above irrespective of the season. Portugal has the largest sea zone territory in the entire European Union which is 1.7 million square kilometers.
The Portuguese constitution is the major source of government structures and systems. The current constitution is the Lisbon constitution of 1976 upon on which the countries legislative, executive and judicial institutions are entrenched. The constitution does not recognize any state religion hence Portugal is a secular state similar to other European union states that are also secular. The constitution also provides for the countries capital city as Lisbon which is Portugal’s capital city.
The country is headed by a president elected on a five year term. The president is non executive and serves a supervisory function in the country. The country has a parliament that is elected and serves four year terms. The parliament is headed by a prime ministers who exercises executive powers in government. They have local governments whose mandate is based in various regions. Their judiciary administers its work through courts that are split into several categories to represent criminal civil as well as commercial functions of the courts. The judiciary enjoys a no interference relationship with the legislature and the executive. The courts of last appeal are called supreme courts while the constitutional court handles constitutional matters.
The president serves as the commander in chief of the armed forces. He is in charge of appointing the prime minister as well as the cabinet. He can also veto legislation and also dissolve the national election as well as declare a war. The president is aided in executing his duties by a national body called council of state. It is made up of ten members five each elected by the president and the national assembly as well as former presidents who have served under the current constitution. The government defines its policy which the assembly debates and if they do not reject it the governments mandate in office is confirmed. The assembly is single tier and its made up of two hundred and thirty members also called deputies. These deputies serve office for period of four years after which they can seek re-election. The assembly is made up through fair representation of all the areas in a proportionate manner.
The country is divided into 308 municipalities which are also made up of parishes. The municipalities are combined into 18 districts. The country has two main categorizations which are split into the mainland and the other two regions namely Madeira and Azores. The Portuguese use the civil law system with influences from the French law first and later on the German law. The law is sourced from the constitution, the penal code as well as the civil code. Their laws are also sourced from the commercial code and also another code that constitutes civil procedure code. Their police forces are headed by the public ministry and they have both the public security and criminal investigation arms.