Portugal began to have representative governments in 1820, which
is when the monarchy ceased to be absolute. However, in the space
of what is now almost two centuries, there have been various
periods when public freedoms - notably the freedoms of expression,
assembly and association - were subject to restrictions.
Because it lasted for nearly half a century and because it was
not so very long ago, perhaps the most significant of these periods
was the Salazar regime, which ended on 25 April 1974. One year
later, the country held the first elections in which every
Portuguese man and woman aged 18 or over was able to vote
What was previously an exception is now common practice and,
happily, today it is citizens who appoint their leaders in most of
the countries around the world.