Prohibition on political-party names which contain expressions that are directly related to religions or churches, and on emblems which could be confused with national or religious symbols
Name of political party
Registration of political party
Acronym for political party
Political party emblem
RULING Nº 107/95
23 of February of 1995
Under the Constitution a political party - regardless of the philosophy or ideology underlying its political programme - is not allowed to use a name which directly refers to a religion or church or to use emblems which are liable to be mistaken for national or religious emblems. The purpose of this provision is to protect the people against misrepresentations, to ensure transparency of participation in political life, and to safeguard freedom of conscience and the separation of church and State.
The Constitutional Court is responsible for registration of political parties and decides whether parties' names, acronyms and emblems are legally acceptable.
It refused to register a political party which wanted to call itself the Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristão), to use the acronym PSC and to have as its emblem a white fish on a blue background.
The Court ruled that the word «Christian» in the name could create confusion on account of its obvious religious connotations. It further held that it was not permissible for Christian doctrine, as invoked in the party's programme, to be appropriated by any one political party.
It refused the emblem on the ground that the fish was a symbol of Christ and that its historical significance might mislead the electorate.
The political party changed its name, acronym and emblem within the legally prescribed two- day time limit. In judgment no. 118/85 of 8 March 1995 the Court found the new name, acronym and emblem to be legally acceptable and therefore agreed to register the party.