Originally built at the end of the sixteenth century as a Benedictine Monastery, the Palace of Saint Benedict is now known as the Assembly of the Republic (i.e. Parliament), and has served as the seat of the Portuguese government since 1834. In the beginning, this unicameral legislative body consisted of 250 members, but the reforms of 1989 reduced this number to between 180 and 230. Representing twenty different political parties, members are elected for four year terms, from eighteen mainland constituencies, one for each autonomous region (e.g. Azores, and Madeira), one for all Portuguese living in Europe, and one for all Portuguese in the rest of the world. In addition to changing laws and amending the Constitution, the Assembly has the power to dismiss the government by "...a vote of no confidence." While the building itself is impressive, the grounds surrounding the "Palace" are just as magnificent and relaxing.
Assembly of the Republic
Looking very much like the palace it once was, the Assembly of the Republic (i.e. Parliament) is where the Portuguese unicameral legislative body has been meeting since 1834...and it was right across the street from our apartment.
Members of the Portuguese Parliament represent the 18 mainland regions, the Azores and Madeira, as well as all Portuguese citizens living in Europe and the rest of the world.
Needing the ability to review documents (old and new) that might reflect upon current potential laws, the Assembly created a library within the building.
Immediately behind the building are the "requisite" hedge gardens...
...however, the rest of the grounds are much more impressive.
Part of the Palace/Assembly building serves as the official residence of the Portuguese Prime Minister.
The grounds are replete with interesting vegetation...
...as well as a number of places to sit, talk, or just relax.
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.