The Assembleia da República is currently composed of 230 Members. However, the Constitution establishes that this number may vary between a minimum of 180 and a maximum of 230.
Members of the Assembleia da República are elected from lists that parties or coalitions of parties put forward in each constituency. Votes are converted into seats using the proportional representation system and the d’Hondt’s highest-average rule.
Members represent the entire country and not only the constituencies that elect them. Their term of office is four years, which corresponds to one legislature.
Any Portuguese citizen (over the age of 18) may be a Member of the Assembleia da República. The electoral law lays down some exceptions relating to the nature of certain functions, such as judges, military personnel in active service, diplomats, etc.
D’Hondt’s highest-average rule
A calculation method created by Belgian lawyer Victor d’Hondt that is used to distribute seats among candidates on the lists running in elections based on the principle of proportional representation. It involves distributing the seats among parties in proportion to the number of votes each receives.
Constituency "x" is entitled to elect 7 Members. Candidates from 4 parties – A, B, C and D – are standing.
Number of votes per party: A – 12,000 | B – 7,500 | C – 4,500 | D – 3,000
Application of the rule
1. The number of votes cast for each list is divided in turn by 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. (up to 7, which is the number of Members to be elected), and the highest quotients (results of these divisions) are placed in descending order:
division by 1 | A: 12,000 | B: 7,500 | C: 4,500 | D: 3,000
division by 2 | A: 6,000 | B: 3,750 | C: 2,250 | D: 1,500
division by 3 | A: 4,000 | B: 2,500 | C: 1,500 | D: 1,000
division by 4 | A: 3,000 | B: 1,875 | C: 1,125 | D: 750
If two or more parties have the same quotient for the last available seat, that seat is awarded to the party with the lowest overall number of votes.
2. The quotients are placed in order and the seats are awarded as follows:
Member 1 - party A
Member 2 - party B
Member 3 - party A
Member 4 - party C
Member 5 - party A
Member 6 - party B
Member 7 - party D
Party A - 3 Members
Party B - 2 Members
Party C - 1 Member
Party D - 1 Member