Africa Asia Europe North America South America Oceania
You are here: Home > Europe > Portugal


Yearbook 1998

Portugal. According to Countryaah, Portugal held its first referendum so far this summer. It was about a proposal for a freer abortion legislation, which meant that abortion before the tenth week of pregnancy would be allowed. Under the current law, abortion was only allowed if the woman's health was in danger, if she had been raped or if birth defects were found. It was the Socialist Government that, with the support of the Communists, had tabled the bill in Parliament, but the right-wing opposition demanded a referendum because the matter is controversial in the largely Catholic country. The response of the Electoral Corps was no - 51.9% voted against the law. But the turnout was only 32%, which meant that the proposal went back to the politicians in Parliament because at least 50% must vote in order for a referendum to be binding.

1998 Portugal

It was just as bad in a referendum on a new regional division of the country. There, 48% went to the polls and 63% of them voted against the proposal. This was a setback for Socialist Prime Minister António Guterres as he had invested much of his prestige on the proposal. This meant that Portugal would be divided into eight regions with its own parliaments and governments instead of today's 18 administrative districts. The intention was to bring politics closer to the citizens and contribute to developing the economically disadvantaged parts of the countryside. The opposition opposed the proposal because it feared that the new order would lead to increased bureaucracy.

Economic growth continued to increase and there was a risk that the economy would overheat. Inflation increased during the year by about 2.6% against the 2% which was the government's target. In this case, the central bank should really raise interest rates, but instead it was lowered to conform to the other EU countries when Portugal replaces the escudo with the euro on 1 January 1999 with the countries that have joined the EMU.

In terms of culture, Portugal profiled internationally, partly when the author José Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature and partly with the last world exhibition of the century - Expo 98 - in Lisbon. The theme of the exhibition was the world ocean in memory of the Portuguese seafarer and discoverer Vasco da Gama.

Other Countries in Europe

Construct Countries Copyright 1998 - 2020 All Rights Reserved