More than 9.3 million voters are registered to vote in the elections where voters can choose from more than two dozen parties being represented.
More than 20 parties are running for local authorities, alone or in coalitions.
They are Aliança, BE, CDS-PP, Chega, Ergue-te, Iniciativa Liberal, JPP, Livre, MAS, MPT, Nós,Cidadãos!, PAN, PCP and PEV, PCTP/MRPP, PDR, PPM, PS, PSD, PTP, RIR and Volt Portugal.
Of the 308 municipalities in the country, only 64 have applications from groups of citizens, and, in four municipalities, there are two movements in each: Albufeira (in the district of Faro), Sabrosa (Vila Real), Redondo ( Évora) and Castelo de Paiva (Aveiro).
According to the diploma published in June in Diário da República, 9,306,120 voters can vote in choosing the members of the 308 councils and as many municipal assemblies, as well as the 3,091 parish councils (in Corvo there is no such entity).
There are 9,278,234 national citizens eligible to vote in these elections, 12,711 from the European Union and 15,175 other foreigners residing in Portugal.
In the 2017 election 9,396,680 voters were registered, 90,560 fewer than in 2021, of whom just over half voted, since the registered abstention rate was 45 percent.
Date of election
Local elections, with a date defined by the Government, take place between 08:00 and 20:00 local time on 26 September (the Azores have one hour less than the mainland and Madeira), and the official campaign takes place between 14 and 24 September, according to the calendar published by the National Election Commission (CNE) on its official website.
On 26 September, after the election, the local tabulation notice is immediately posted at the polling station door and the results communicated to the parish council or officially designated entity.
The general tabulation starts on the 28th and the official map with the results of the elections must be published in the Diário da República within 30 days of receiving the minutes of all the general tabulation meetings.
The accountability of the electoral campaign by the candidates before the Accounts and Financing Entity of Political Parties will have to be done “within a maximum period of 90 days, in the case of local elections, […] after the full payment of the public subsidy”.
Voters who are in mandatory confinement because of Covid-19 or who reside in residential homes and cannot be present can vote on September 21 and 22, according to the calendar published by the CNE.
In these cases, the mayor of the municipality where they are registered, or, in their place, an accredited councillor or municipal employee, travel to the citizen's address.
The request to vote in this context must be made between the 16th and the 19th, with the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Administration or the parish council. It can be done by a representative of the voter by presenting a simple power of attorney, accompanied by a copy of the applicant's civil identification document.
Voters who for professional reasons cannot vote on election day, such as military personnel, agents of the security forces and services and civil protection agents, members of official State delegations traveling abroad, can also vote in advance.
To vote, these voters can go to the mayor of the municipality in which they are registered, between 16 and 21 September, expressing their willingness to exercise the right of suffrage in advance.
Patients prevented by hospital admission from going to the polling station, students enrolled in educational institutions in a district, autonomous region or island other than the one where they should vote and voters who are imprisoned without deprivation of political rights may apply until September 6, by electronic means or by post, prior voting to the mayor of the municipality in which they are registered.
The collection of votes in hospitals, prisons or teaching takes place from 13 to 16 September.
According to campaign budgets between Entity of Accounts and Political Financing, the parties and coalitions of parties expect to spend a total of €31 million in the election campaign for local authorities in September, less than the €35 million four years ago.
Changes to municipalities
With these elections, six municipalities will have fewer councillors in the municipal executive, due to a decrease in registered voters since the previous election, according to data from the CNE.
The municipalities that lose mandates in the respective chambers are Vinhais and Mogadouro, in the district of Bragança, the municipality (and district capital) of Vila Real, the municipality of Fafe, in Braga, Pombal, in Leiria, and Vendas Novas, in Évora.
Conversely, and down to only three voters, Portimão, in Faro, will have a higher number, which will go from seven to nine elements (the president and eight councillors), because this Algarve county has increased from 48,497 voters to 50,003 registered voters, since the elections 2017.
The number of mandates of each municipal body is defined according to the results of the voter registration, obtained through the central database of voter registration and published by the Ministry of Internal Administration in the Diário da República.
The law in force establishes that the municipal executive is composed of five elements in councils with 10,000 or less voters; by seven elements in municipalities with more than 10,000 voters and up to 50,000; by nine elements in chambers with more than 50,000 and up to 100,000 voters and by 11 elements when the registered population exceeds 100,000.