Local government in Portugal: political and social responsibility over the sustainable development of unequal territories
Local government in Portugal has been facing challenges which are not new. However, recently some dramatic events have been exposed by the media and have revealed problems whose resolution implies a structured and consistent approach by the Government, as well as local responses with different dynamics and impact. Two parallel movements have been developing: the long-time demographic concentration in the big cities by the sea has exponentially increased in the last half century; as the interior regions have become depopulated. These regions occupy eighty per cent of the Portuguese territory, but only less than twenty per cent of the population lives there. This population is unprotected, frail and increasingly deprived of basic rights of citizenship, such as health, protection, justice, education, communication and others which are taken for granted in urban areas.
Local government elected representatives are analysed, as well as their political messages and actions and public policies by the central government in order to verify what is being done to ensure the quality of life of the Portuguese people and the sustainable development of different territories.