Portuguese American Journal

Community: Council of Portuguese Communities elections contested worldwide – Portugal

All Portuguese citizens residing in the United States, including those with dual citizenship, are eligible to participate in the upcoming Council of Portuguese Communities (CCP) election on Sunday, November 26.

During this election, individuals across the world can elect their regional councilors, who will actively represent their interests to the Portuguese government, serving as an advisory body on policies regarding emigration and issues concerning the Portuguese diaspora.

However, the 2023 CCP elections have triggered widespread protests among councilors and candidates due to the failing undemocratic organization process, resulting in 13 out of the 52 electoral districts worldwide registering no candidacies.

This has sparked strong demonstrations across various regions, prompting formal complaints to both the National Elections Commission and Portugal’s Constitutional Court with candidates and voters alike raising concerns about the severe shortage of polling stations, lack of widespread information, and poor organization, which directly violate constitutional law requirements.

This limitation significantly affects eligible voters, compelling them to travel long distances to participate in the voting process, resulting in high rates of abstention. For instance, individuals residing in Texas are required to travel to Washington to cast their votes, posing an impractical and burdensome requirement.

Furthermore, the lack of accessibility has rendered general voting participation nearly impossible, alarming candidates about the prospect of significantly low voter turnout, and directly impacting the legitimacy of their candidacies.

Adding to the chaos, the Secretariat of State for Portuguese Communities provided an unreasonably short window for preparing the electoral process, scheduling the elections a mere two months in advance. This inadequate timeframe has left candidates and participants with insufficient time to adequately prepare and engage in the democratic process.

These actions are widely regarded as a flagrant violation of the rights of voters residing outside Portugal, undermining the fundamental principles of fair and inclusive elections. It is estimated that over five million Portuguese citizens live abroad.

The CCP’s electoral process typically involves eligible members of Portuguese communities abroad voting for their preferred candidates to represent their interests and concerns. 

In the United States, seven CCP members are elected, representing specific consular areas: New Bedford, Boston, and Providence (2 councilors); Washington (1 councilor); Miami and Orlando (1 councilor); Newark and New York (2 councilors); and San Francisco (1 councilor).

About CCP

Established in 2007, with elections scheduled every four years, the Council of Portuguese Communities (CCP) consists of representatives from various global geographic regions where Portuguese communities reside.

Comprising of 90 members scattered worldwide, the primary responsibilities of the Council of Portuguese Communities [Conselho das Comunidades Portuguesas] members include providing opinions, upon request by the Portuguese Government or the Assembly of the Republic, on legislative and administrative proposals relating to the Portuguese diaspora.

This encompasses international agreements or regulations affecting Portuguese residing abroad, and other essential duties such as promoting the integration of Portuguese immigrants, safeguarding their rights, and nurturing cultural, economic, and social ties between Portugal and the Portuguese diaspora.

The CCP also advises the government of Portugal on crucial matters affecting these communities, such as citizenship, education, social security, and other pertinent aspects for emigrants and their descendants.

Additionally, it organizes events, disseminates information, and supports initiatives aimed at the welfare and connection of the Portuguese diaspora with their homeland.

The limited voting stations are available at various consular representations globally, particularly at Portuguese Embassies/Consulates and Government Offices abroad.

For additional information regarding the CCP and the voting process, visit the Portuguese government’s official website here.


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