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Portugal Public Holidays Officially Restored

Source: Assembleia da República (Lisboa)
Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2016
Updated: Saturday, February 29, 2020


The President of Portugal has promulgated the recent decree restoring the 4 annual non-working public holidays of Portugal ("Corpo de Deus, 5 de outubro, 1 de novembro e 1 de dezembro") which had been canceled as part of the 2011 austerity package.

Earlier this year (2016-01-08), Portugal's new Socialist government obtained the Parliamentary approval needed to enact the "Projeto de Lei n.º 749/XII - Restitui os feriados nacionais obrigatórios eliminados" (2015-12-19), supported by the new left-wing governing coalition in Portugal, stemmed from last November's forced resignation of Portugal's center-right government (2015-11-11), to restore the 4 annual non-working public holidays of Portugal, Corpo de Deus (Corpus Cristi), Implantação da República (October 5), Todos os Santos (November 1), and Restauração da independência (December 1st), that were canceled as part of the 2011 austerity measures ("Projeto de Lei n.º 749/XII - Restitui os feriados nacionais obrigatórios eliminados").

Originally (2016-01-03), there had been some talk of delaying the restoration of the 2 religious annual non-working public holidays in Portugal, until discussions could be had with the Vatican. But, in the plenary debate, the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Pedro Nuno Santos, announced that the Government already had the assent of the Holy See. It would appear that formal negotiated agreement from the Vatican would only be needed to cancel religious public holidays (2012-03-12), but not to restore them.

The cancellation of the 4 public holidays in Portugal came few years ago (2012-08-01), after much hesitation and debate (2011-10-15, 2011-07-03, 2011-12-01, 2012-01-18, 2012-03-12 and 2011-11-14), in a quadripartite agreement (2012-05-09). These 4 annual non-working public holidays were canceled for 5 years (2013-2017). At the end of that period the issue is to be revisited ("A suspensão de quatro feriados, concretizada esta terça-feira, com o anúncio do acordo entre o Governo português e a Santa Sé, será reavaliada ao fim de cinco anos").

This was followed by a constitutional challenge to Portugal's cancellation of 4 annual non-working public holidays, brought by the Communist party and other extreme left parties, but Portugal's constitutional court (Tribunal Constitucional) eventually ruled that the reduction of 4 annual non-working public holidays in Portugal was constitutional (2013-09-27), a ruling which did not deter the leader of the Communist Party caucus of Portugal's parliament, a few months later (2013-12-04), from introducing another bill that would restore the 4 annual non-working public holidays.



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