Ukraine celebrates the Day of the Constitution on June 28. It is the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the main law.
How and when the Constitution of Ukraine was adopted
First, the Constitutional Treaty was concluded.
On June 8, 1995, it was signed by President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and Head of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Moroz.
It consisted of 61 articles and functioned until the adoption of the Constitution.
The current Constitution of Ukraine was adopted on June 28, 1996, during the fifth session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of II convocation.
The law of Ukraine #254/96-VR, which ratifies the new Constitution and annuls the previous Constitution of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Constitutional Treaty, was officially signed a bit earlier in mid-June 1996.
The Constitutional night is the night of June 27 on June 28, when the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Constitution.
The work on the main document of the country lasted 23 hours. Finally, 315 MPs voted for the adoption of the Constitution.
Constitution was being written for three years and adopted thanks to coffee
The process of writing the Constitution was very long and complicated, and it started with a nationwide discussion of its provisions, launched back in 1993. Actual work on it began in parliament on April 4, 1996, when 10 parliamentary factions (excluding the Socialists and Communists) formed an inter-faction parliamentary group to draft the Constitution. It was headed by the then Deputy Chairman of the People's Movement of Ukraine Oleksandr Lavrynovych. He was later replaced by the late Mykhailo Syrota.
On May 11, 1996, the draft Constitution was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada. Work began in the commissions and the session hall. “Several times it almost led to a fight and disruption of the meeting,” the MP of the second convocation Valentyn Yablonsky recalls. Finally, on June 4, 1996, 258 MPs voted in favor of the draft Constitution in the first reading. And on June 27, the consideration of the document in the second reading began - this is how the famous “constitutional night” started. Finally, on June 28, 1996, at 9:18 a.m., the Constitution was adopted.
“It's good that there was a buffet downstairs. Only bartenders know how much black coffee was drunk then, because it was late at night, everyone's body needed a rest, and we had no right to do that,” Yablonsky says.
There could be three capitals in Ukraine
Academician Volodymyr Semynozhenko proposed such an unexpected initiative. He suggested that Ukraine should have several capitals. The legal capital is Kharkiv, the administrative capital is Kyiv, and the financial capital is Dnipropetrovsk. Needless to say, this norm was not passed during the discussion of the Constitution.
The Day of the Constitution is the only public holiday spelled out in the Constitution.
We have more rights than obligations
And now we, the “the Ukrainian people,” according to the Constitution, have much more rights and freedoms than duties. At least, the constitutionalists counted like this. Isn't this the root of our non-fulfillment of the Constitution itself?
The Constitution of Ukraine has a number of guarantees that are not fulfilled
However, it is not just about the people. One of the points that make our Constitution look like a kind of “anachronism” is related to the contradiction between the high level of rights and freedoms provided by it and the imperfect system of government, which is unable to guarantee these rights and freedoms. This applies primarily to the social sphere, in particular free medicine and education, which remain purely declarative (and decorative!) provisions.
How Ukraine will celebrate the Constitution Day
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed the order on the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine. The aim of the order is the decent celebration of the anniversary of the Constitution, considering its important meaning in the building of a legal and democratic state.
According to the order, the Ukrainian government will create an organizational committee for the preparation and holding of festive events. Besides, the committee has to take into account the epidemic situation in the country providing safety during the honorable events in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the government has to provide broad coverage of the events dedicated to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Constitution, while the National Bank of Ukraine has to make and issue memorable coins.
Moreover, the competition will be held among students and young scientists for the best research paper on the development of constitutional and legal regulation.
The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine has to invite the representatives of the foreign states, international organizations, Ukrainian diaspora to participate in the honorable events. Besides, foreign establishments of Ukraine have to hold events dedicated to the anniversary of the Constitution overseas.