Reform of municipal democracy

In partnership with the National Association of Municipal Assemblies (ANAM), the Institute of Public Policy has been developing the Reform of municipal democracy project, which will be carried out to implement a green paper for the reform of municipal democracy and the enhancement of the role of Municipal Assemblies.

The more than 40 years of building a democratic local power in Portugal associated with the ongoing decentralization process – which will entail a series of legislative changes that will bring a significant reinforcement of the attributions and competences of the Portuguese municipalities – require a set of changes that value the Municipal Assemblies, thus reinforcing municipal democracy.

These changes, based on recent academic results at the level of master’s dissertations, should be guided by good practices prevailing in some Municipal Assemblies in our country and by those that have been the general guidelines of the work of public intervention developed by ANAM, and should seek to implement proposals to change the existing legislative framework in a sense of dignifying the role of Municipal Assemblies in local democracy.

Such dignification should be based on a reinforcement vector of the powers of the Municipal Assemblies so that they can fulfill the enforcement action of the municipal executives, on a reinforcement vector of the democratic legitimacy of the Municipal Assemblies, on a reinforcement vector of the autonomy of the Municipal Assemblies in face of the municipal executives , on a reinforcement vector of the articulation and development of the executive/Municipal Assembly relationship, on a reinforcement vector of the opposition rights, on a reinforcement vector of the participatory democracy mechanisms of the citizens, and on a reinforcement vector of guarantee of the working conditions suited to the good performance of the missions conferred on the Municipal Assemblies and their members.

The implementation of this project should be divided into three main phases:

  • First, the aim will be to develop the methodologies necessary for the construction of a document incorporating a proposal for a base model for a Municipal Assemblies regiment and possible complementary proposals.
  • Second, a brief literature review on the subject will be carried out and the methodologies necessary for the construction of a document containing a set of proposals for legislative changes that allow the dignity of the role of the Municipal Assemblies will be developed.
  • Third, a final report, in the form of a green paper, will be presented containing the overall conclusions of the project.


Paulo Trigo Pereira

Senior Research Fellow - Coordinator

Luís Mota Almeida

Research Fellow