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Constitution

This page shows the value of the Constitution information field for all countries in the Country Guide.

Notes on this field are available at the Information Field Notes page.

Afghanistan

none

Albania

a new constitution was adopted by popular referendum on 28 November 1998; note - the opposition Democratic Party boycotted the vote

Algeria

19 November 1976, effective 22 November 1976; revised 3 November 1988, 23 February 1989, and 28 November 1996; note - referendum approving the revisions of 28 November 1996 was signed into law 7 December 1996

American Samoa

ratified 1966, in effect 1967

Andorra

Andorra's first written constitution was drafted in 1991; approved by referendum 14 March 1993; came into force 4 May 1993

Angola

11 November 1975; revised 7 January 1978, 11 August 1980, 6 March 1991, and 26 August 1992

Anguilla

Anguilla Constitutional Order 1 April 1982; amended 1990

Antigua and Barbuda

1 November 1981

Argentina

1 May 1853; revised August 1994

Armenia

adopted by nationwide referendum 5 July 1995

Aruba

1 January 1986

Australia

9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901

Austria

1920; revised 1929 (reinstated 1 May 1945)

Azerbaijan

adopted 12 November 1995

Bahamas, The

10 July 1973

Bahrain

26 May 1973, effective 6 December 1973

Bangladesh

4 November 1972, effective 16 December 1972, suspended following coup of 24 March 1982, restored 10 November 1986, amended many times

Barbados

30 November 1966

Belarus

30 March 1994; revised by national referendum of 24 November 1996 giving the presidency greatly expanded powers and became effective 27 November 1996

Belgium

7 February 1831, last revised 14 July 1993; parliament approved a constitutional package creating a federal state

Belize

21 September 1981

Benin

December 1990

Bermuda

8 June 1968, amended 1989

Bhutan

no written constitution or bill of rights (Note: Bhutan uses 1953 Royal decree for the Constitution of the National Assembly; on 7 July 1998, a Royal edict was ratified giving the National Assembly additional powers)

Bolivia

2 February 1967; revised in August 1994

Bosnia and Herzegovina

the Dayton Agreement, signed 14 December 1995, included a new constitution now in force

Botswana

March 1965, effective 30 September 1966

Brazil

5 October 1988

British Virgin Islands

1 June 1977

Brunei

29 September 1959 (some provisions suspended under a State of Emergency since December 1962, others since independence on 1 January 1984)

Bulgaria

adopted 12 July 1991

Burkina Faso

2 June 1991 approved by referendum; 11 June 1991 formally adopted

Burundi

13 March 1992; provided for establishment of a plural political system; supplanted on 6 June 1998 by a Transitional Constitution which enlarged the National Assembly and created two vice presidents

Cambodia

promulgated 21 September 1993

Cameroon

20 May 1972 approved by referendum; 2 June 1972 formally adopted

Canada

17 April 1982 (Constitution Act); originally, the machinery of the government was set up in the British North America Act of 1867; charter of rights and unwritten customs

Cape Verde

new constitution came into force 25 September 1992

Cayman Islands

1959, revised 1972 and 1992

Central African Republic

passed by referendum 29 December 1994; adopted 7 January 1995

Chad

passed by referendum 31 March 1995

Chile

11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended 30 July 1989 and in 1993

China

most recent promulgation 4 December 1982

Christmas Island

Christmas Island Act of 1958

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act of 1955

Colombia

5 July 1991

Comoros

20 October 1996

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

24 June 1967, amended August 1974, revised 15 February 1978, amended April 1990; transitional constitution promulgated in April 1994; following successful rebellion the new government announced on 29 May 1997 a program of constitutional reform and, in November 1998, a draft constitution was approved by President KABILA and awaits ratification by national referendum

Congo, Republic of the

new constitution approved by referendum March 1992 but is now being redrafted by President SASSOU-NGUESSO

Cook Islands

4 August 1965

Costa Rica

7 November 1949

Cote d'Ivoire

3 November 1960; has been amended numerous times, last time July 1998

Croatia

adopted on 22 December 1990

Cuba

24 February 1976, amended July 1992

Cyprus

16 August 1960; negotiations to create the basis for a new or revised constitution to govern the island and to better relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been held intermittently; in 1975 Turkish Cypriots created their own constitution and governing bodies within the "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus," which was renamed the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" in 1983; a new constitution for the Turkish Cypriot area passed by referendum on 5 May 1985

Czech Republic

ratified 16 December 1992; effective 1 January 1993

Denmark

1849 was the original constitution; there was a major overhaul 5 June 1953, allowing for a unicameral legislature and a female chief of state

Djibouti

multiparty constitution approved by referendum 4 September 1992

Dominica

3 November 1978

Dominican Republic

28 November 1966

Ecuador

10 August 1998

Egypt

11 September 1971

El Salvador

23 December 1983

Equatorial Guinea

approved by national referendum 17 November 1991; amended January 1995

Eritrea

the transitional constitution, decreed on 19 May 1993, was replaced by a new constitution adopted on 23 May 1997, but not yet implemented

Estonia

adopted 28 June 1992

Ethiopia

ratified December 1994; effective 22 August 1995

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

3 October 1985; amended 1997

Faroe Islands

5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)

Fiji

10 October 1970 (suspended 1 October 1987); a new constitution was proposed on 23 September 1988 and promulgated on 25 July 1990; amended 25 July 1997 to allow nonethnic Fijians greater say in government and to make multiparty government mandatory; entered into force 28 July 1998; note - the May 1999 election was the first test of the amended constitution and introduced open voting - not racially prescribed - for the first time at the national level

Finland

17 July 1919

France

28 September 1958, amended concerning election of president in 1962, amended to comply with provisions of EC Maastricht Treaty in 1992; amended to tighten immigration laws 1993

French Guiana

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

French Polynesia

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Gabon

adopted 14 March 1991

Gambia, The

24 April 1970; suspended July 1994; rewritten and approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; reestablished in January 1997

Georgia

adopted 17 October 1995

Germany

23 May 1949, known as Basic Law; became constitution of the united German people 3 October 1990

Ghana

new constitution approved 28 April 1992

Gibraltar

30 May 1969

Greece

11 June 1975; amended March 1986

Greenland

5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)

Grenada

19 December 1973

Guadeloupe

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Guam

Organic Act of 1 August 1950

Guatemala

31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986 (Note: suspended 25 May 1993 by former President SERRANO; reinstated 5 June 1993 following ouster of president; amended November 1993)

Guernsey

unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

Guinea

23 December 1990 (Loi Fundamentale)

Guinea-Bissau

16 May 1984, amended 4 May 1991, 4 December 1991, 26 February 1993, 9 June 1993, and 1996

Guyana

6 October 1980

Haiti

approved March 1987; suspended June 1988, with most articles reinstated March 1989; in October 1991, government claimed to be observing the constitution; return to constitutional rule, October 1994

Holy See (Vatican City)

Apostolic Constitution of 1967 (effective 1 March 1968)

Honduras

11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended 1995

Hong Kong

Basic Law approved in March 1990 by China's National People's Congress is Hong Kong's "mini-constitution"

Hungary

18 August 1949, effective 20 August 1949, revised 19 April 1972; 18 October 1989 revision ensured legal rights for individuals and constitutional checks on the authority of the prime minister and also established the principle of parliamentary oversight; 1997 amendment streamlined the judicial system

Iceland

16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944

India

26 January 1950

Indonesia

August 1945, abrogated by Federal Constitution of 1949 and Provisional Constitution of 1950, restored 5 July 1959

Iran

2-3 December 1979; revised 1989 to expand powers of the presidency and eliminate the prime ministership

Iraq

22 September 1968, effective 16 July 1970 (provisional constitution); new constitution drafted in 1990 but not adopted

Ireland

29 December 1937; adopted 1 July 1937 by plebiscite

Israel

no formal constitution; some of the functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the Basic Laws of the parliament (Knesset), and the Israeli citizenship law

Italy

1 January 1948

Jamaica

6 August 1962

Japan

3 May 1947

Jersey

unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

Jordan

8 January 1952

Kazakhstan

adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995; first post-independence constitution was adopted 28 January 1993

Kenya

12 December 1963, amended as a republic 1964; reissued with amendments 1979, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, and 1997

Kiribati

12 July 1979

Korea, North

adopted 1948, completely revised 27 December 1972, revised again in April 1992 and September 1998

Korea, South

25 February 1988

Kuwait

approved and promulgated 11 November 1962

Kyrgyzstan

adopted 5 May 1993 (Note: amendment proposed by President AKAYEV and passed in a national referendum on 10 February 1996 significantly expands the powers of the president at the expense of the legislature)

Laos

promulgated 14 August 1991

Latvia

the 1991 Constitutional Law which supplements the 1922 constitution, provides for basic rights and freedoms

Lebanon

23 May 1926, amended a number of times

Lesotho

2 April 1993

Liberia

6 January 1986

Libya

11 December 1969, amended 2 March 1977

Liechtenstein

5 October 1921

Lithuania

adopted 25 October 1992

Luxembourg

17 October 1868, occasional revisions

Macau

Basic Law, approved in March 1993 by China's National People's Congress, is Macau's "mini-constitution"

Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of

adopted 17 November 1991, effective 20 November 1991 (Note: Democratic Party for Albanians (DPA), which is now a member party of the government, is calling for a rewrite of the constitution to declare ethnic Albanians a national group and allow for regional autonomy)

Madagascar

19 August 1992 by national referendum

Malawi

18 May 1995

Malaysia

31 August 1957, amended 16 September 1963

Maldives

adopted January 1998

Mali

adopted 12 January 1992

Malta

1964 constitution substantially amended on 13 December 1974

Man, Isle of

unwritten; note - The Isle of Man Constitution Act, 1961, does not embody the Manx Constitution

Marshall Islands

1 May 1979

Martinique

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Mauritania

12 July 1991

Mauritius

12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992

Mayotte

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Mexico

5 February 1917

Micronesia, Federated States of

10 May 1979

Moldova

new constitution adopted 28 July 1994; replaces old Soviet constitution of 1979

Monaco

17 December 1962

Mongolia

12 February 1992

Montserrat

present constitution came into force 19 December 1989

Morocco

10 March 1972, revised 4 September 1992, amended (to create bicameral legislature) September 1996

Mozambique

30 November 1990

Myanmar

3 January 1974 (suspended since 18 September 1988); national convention started on 9 January 1993 to draft a new constitution; chapter headings and three of 15 sections have been approved

Namibia

ratified 9 February 1990; effective 12 March 1990

Nauru

29 January 1968

Nepal

9 November 1990

Netherlands

adopted 1814; amended many times, last time 17 February 1983

Netherlands Antilles

29 December 1954, Statute of the Realm of the Netherlands, as amended

New Caledonia

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

New Zealand

no formal, written constitution; consists of various documents, including certain acts of the UK and New Zealand Parliaments; Constitution Act 1986 was to have come into force 1 January 1987, but has not been enacted

Nicaragua

9 January 1987, with reforms in 1995 and 2000

Niger

the constitution of January 1993 was revised by national referendum on 12 May 1996 and again by referendum on 18 July 1999

Nigeria

NA 1999 new constitution adopted

Niue

19 October 1974 (Niue Constitution Act)

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island Act of 1979

Northern Mariana Islands

Covenant Agreement effective 4 November 1986 and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands effective 1 January 1978

Norway

17 May 1814, modified in 1884

Oman

none; note - on 6 November 1996, Sultan QABOOS issued a royal decree promulgating a new basic law which, among other things, clarifies the royal succession, provides for a prime minister, bars ministers from holding interests in companies doing business with the government, establishes a bicameral legislature, and guarantees basic civil liberties for Omani citizens

Pakistan

10 April 1973, suspended 5 July 1977, restored with amendments 30 December 1985; suspended 15 October 1999

Palau

1 January 1981

Panama

11 October 1972; major reforms adopted April 1983 and in 1994

Papua New Guinea

16 September 1975

Paraguay

promulgated 20 June 1992

Peru

31 December 1993

Philippines

2 February 1987, effective 11 February 1987

Pitcairn Islands

Local Government Ordinance of 1964

Poland

16 October 1997; adopted by the National Assembly on 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 23 May 1997

Portugal

25 April 1976, revised 30 October 1982, 1 June 1989, 5 November 1992, and 3 September 1997

Puerto Rico

ratified 3 March 1952; approved by US Congress 3 July 1952; effective 25 July 1952

Qatar

provisional constitution enacted 19 April 1972

Reunion

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Romania

8 December 1991

Russia

adopted 12 December 1993

Rwanda

on 5 May 1995, the Transitional National Assembly adopted a new constitution which included elements of the constitution of 18 June 1991 as well as provisions of the 1993 Arusha peace accord and the November 1994 multiparty protocol of understanding

Saint Helena

1 January 1989

Saint Kitts and Nevis

19 September 1983

Saint Lucia

22 February 1979

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

27 October 1979

Samoa

1 January 1962

San Marino

8 October 1600; electoral law of 1926 serves some of the functions of a constitution

Sao Tome and Principe

approved March 1990; effective 10 September 1990

Saudi Arabia

governed according to Shari'a (Islamic law); the Basic Law that articulates the government's rights and responsibilities was introduced in 1993

Senegal

3 March 1963, revised 1991

Serbia and Montenegro

27 April 1992

Seychelles

18 June 1993

Sierra Leone

1 October 1991; subsequently amended several times

Singapore

3 June 1959, amended 1965 (based on preindependence State of Singapore Constitution)

Slovakia

ratified 1 September 1992, fully effective 1 January 1993; changed in September 1998 to allow direct election of the president

Slovenia

adopted 23 December 1991, effective 23 December 1991

Solomon Islands

7 July 1978

Somalia

25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979

South Africa

10 December 1996; this new constitution was certified by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996, was signed by then President MANDELA on 10 December 1996, and entered into effect on 3 February 1997; it is being implemented in phases

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

adopted 3 October 1985

Spain

6 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978

Sri Lanka

adopted 16 August 1978

Sudan

12 April 1973, suspended following coup of 6 April 1985; interim constitution of 10 October 1985 suspended following coup of 30 June 1989; new constitution implemented on 30 June 1998 partially suspended 12 December 1999 by President BASHIR

Suriname

ratified 30 September 1987

Swaziland

none; constitution of 6 September 1968 was suspended 12 April 1973; a new constitution was promulgated 13 October 1978, but was not formally presented to the people; since then a few more outlines for a constitution have been compiled under the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), but so far none have been accepted

Sweden

1 January 1975

Switzerland

29 May 1874

Syria

13 March 1973

Taiwan

1 January 1947, amended in 1992, 1994, and 1997

Tajikistan

6 November 1994

Tanzania

25 April 1977; major revisions October 1984

Thailand

new constitution signed by King PHUMIPHON on 11 October 1997

Togo

multiparty draft constitution approved by High Council of the Republic 1 July 1992; adopted by public referendum 27 September 1992

Tokelau

administered under the Tokelau Islands Act of 1948, as amended in 1970

Tonga

4 November 1875, revised 1 January 1967

Trinidad and Tobago

1 August 1976

Tunisia

1 June 1959; amended 12 July 1988

Turkey

7 November 1982

Turkmenistan

adopted 18 May 1992

Turks and Caicos Islands

introduced 30 August 1976; suspended in 1986; restored and revised 5 March 1988

Tuvalu

1 October 1978

Uganda

8 October 1995; adopted by the interim, 284-member Constituent Assembly, charged with debating the draft constitution that had been proposed in May 1993; the Constituent Assembly was dissolved upon the promulgation of the constitution in October 1995

Ukraine

adopted 28 June 1996

United Arab Emirates

2 December 1971 (made permanent in 1996)

United Kingdom

unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

United States

17 September 1787, effective 4 March 1789

Uruguay

27 November 1966, effective February 1967, suspended 27 June 1973, new constitution rejected by referendum 30 November 1980; two constitutional reforms approved by plebiscite 26 November 1989 and 7 January 1997

Uzbekistan

new constitution adopted 8 December 1992

Vanuatu

30 July 1980

Venezuela

30 December 1999

Vietnam

15 April 1992

Virgin Islands

Revised Organic Act of 22 July 1954

Wallis and Futuna

28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Yemen

16 May 1991; amended 29 September 1994

Zambia

2 August 1991

Zimbabwe

21 December 1979
 

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