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Field Listing :: Constitution
This entry includes the dates of adoption, revisions, and major amendments.
Country
Constitution
Afghanistan new constitution drafted 14 December 2003-4 January 2004; signed 16 January 2004; ratified 26 January 2004
Akrotiri Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Order in Council 1960, effective 16 August 1960, functions as a basic legal document
Albania approved by parliament on 21 October 1998; adopted by popular referendum on 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998
Algeria 8 September 1963; revised 19 November 1976; effective 22 November 1976; revised 3 November 1988, 23 February 1989, 28 November 1996, 10 April 2002, and 12 November 2008
American Samoa ratified 2 June 1966; effective 1 July 1967
Andorra Andorra's first written constitution was drafted in 1991; approved by referendum 14 March 1993; effective 28 April 1993
Angola adopted by People's Assembly 25 August 1992
Anguilla Anguilla Constitutional Order 1 April 1982; amended 1990
Antigua and Barbuda 1 November 1981
Argentina 1 May 1853; amended many times starting in 1860
Armenia adopted by nationwide referendum 5 July 1995; amendments adopted through a nationwide referendum 27 November 2005
Aruba 1 January 1986
Australia 9 July 1900; effective 1 January 1901
Austria 1920; revised 1929; reinstated 1 May 1945; note - during the period 1 May 1934-1 May 1945 there was a fascist (corporative) constitution in place
Azerbaijan adopted 12 November 1995; modified by referendum 24 August 2002
Bahamas, The 10 July 1973
Bahrain adopted 14 February 2002
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 15 March 1994; revised by national referendum of 24 November 1996 giving the presidency greatly expanded powers and became effective 27 November 1996; revised again 17 October 2004 removing presidential term limits
Belgium 7 February 1831; amended many times; revised 14 July 1993 to create a federal state
Belize 21 September 1981
Benin adopted by referendum 2 December 1990
Bermuda 8 June 1968; amended 1989 and 2003
Bhutan ratified 18 July 2008
Bolivia 2 February 1967; revised in August 1994; voters approved a new constitution on 25 January 2009
Bosnia and Herzegovina the Dayton Peace Accords, signed 14 December 1995 in Paris, included a new constitution now in force; note - each of the entities also has its own constitution
Botswana March 1965; effective 30 September 1966
Brazil 5 October 1988
British Virgin Islands 13 June 2007
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 approved by referendum 2 June 1991; formally adopted 11 June 1991; last amended January 2002
Burma 3 January 1974; suspended since 18 September 1988; a new constitution was approved on 10 May 2008; note - new constitution will take effect when a new parliament is convened following elections scheduled for 2010
Burundi ratified by popular referendum 28 February 2005
Cambodia promulgated 21 September 1993
Cameroon approved by referendum 20 May 1972; adopted 2 June 1972; revised January 1996
Canada made up of unwritten and written acts, customs, judicial decisions, and traditions; the written part of the constitution consists of the Constitution Act of 29 March 1867, which created a federation of four provinces, and the Constitution Act of 17 April 1982, which transferred formal control over the constitution from Britain to Canada, and added a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as procedures for constitutional amendments
Cape Verde 25 September 1992; a major revision on 23 November 1995 substantially increased the powers of the president; a 1999 revision created the position of national ombudsman (Provedor de Justica)
Cayman Islands 1959; revised 1962, 1972, and 1994
Central African Republic ratified by popular referendum 5 December 2004; effective 27 December 2004
Chad passed by referendum 31 March 1996; a June 2005 referendum removed constitutional term limits
Chile 11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended 1989, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, and 2005
China most recent promulgation 4 December 1982 with amendments in 1988 and 1993
Christmas Island Christmas Island Act of 1958-59 (1 October 1958) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act of 1955 (23 November 1955) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992
Colombia 5 July 1991; amended many times
Comoros 23 December 2001
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 18 February 2006
Congo, Republic of the approved by referendum 20 January 2002
Cook Islands 4 August 1965
Costa Rica 7 November 1949
Cote d'Ivoire approved by referendum 23 July 2000
Croatia adopted on 22 December 1990; revised 2000, 2001
Cuba 24 February 1976; amended July 1992 and June 2002
Cyprus 16 August 1960
note: from December 1963, the Turkish Cypriots no longer participated in the government; negotiations to create the basis for a new or revised constitution to govern the island and for better relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been held intermittently since the mid-1960s; in 1975, following the 1974 Turkish intervention, Turkish Cypriots created their own constitution and governing bodies within the "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus," which became the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)" when the Turkish Cypriots declared their independence in 1983; a new constitution for the "TRNC" passed by referendum on 5 May 1985, although the "TRNC" remains unrecognized by any country other than Turkey
Czech Republic ratified 16 December 1992, effective 1 January 1993; amended 1997, 2000, 2001 (twice), 2002
Denmark 5 June 1953; note - constitution allowed for a unicameral legislature and a female chief of state
Dhekelia Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Order in Council 1960, effective 16 August 1960, functions as a basic legal document
Djibouti approved by referendum 4 September 1992; note - constitution allows for multiparties
Dominica 3 November 1978
Dominican Republic 28 November 1966; amended 25 July 2002
Ecuador 20 October 2008
Egypt 11 September 1971; amended 22 May 1980, 25 May 2005, and 26 March 2007
El Salvador 20 December 1983
Equatorial Guinea approved by national referendum 17 November 1991; amended January 1995
Eritrea adopted on 23 May 1997, but has not yet been fully implemented
Estonia adopted 28 June 1992
Ethiopia ratified 8 December 1994, effective 22 August 1995
European Union none
note: based on a series of treaties: the Treaty of Paris, which set up the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951; the Treaties of Rome, which set up the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) in 1957; the Single European Act in 1986; the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht) in 1992; the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997; and the Treaty of Nice in 2003; note - a new draft Constitutional Treaty, signed on 29 October 2004 in Rome, gave member states two years for ratification either by parliamentary vote or national referendum before it was scheduled to take effect on 1 November 2006; defeat in French and Dutch referenda in May-June 2005 dealt a severe setback to the ratification process; in June 2007, the European Council agreed on a clear and concise mandate for an Intergovernmental Conference to form a political agreement and put it into legal form; this agreement, known as the Reform Treaty, would have served as a constitution and was presented to the European Council in October 2007 for individual country ratification; it was rejected by Irish voters in June 2008, again stalling the ratification process
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) 3 October 1985; amended 1997 and 1998
Faroe Islands 5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)
Fiji enacted 25 July 1997; effective 28 July 1998; note - it encourages multiculturalism and makes multiparty government mandatory
Finland 1 March 2000
France adopted by referendum 28 September 1958; effective 4 October 1958; amended many times
note: amended concerning election of president in 1962; amended to comply with provisions of 1992 EC Maastricht Treaty, 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, 2003 Treaty of Nice; amended to tighten immigration laws in 1993; amended in 2000 to change the seven-year presidential term to a five-year term; amended in 2005 to make the EU constitutional treaty compatible with the Constitution of France and to ensure that the decision to ratify EU accession treaties would be made by referendum
French Polynesia 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Gabon adopted 14 March 1991
Gambia, The approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; effective 16 January 1997
Georgia adopted 24 August 1995
Germany 23 May 1949, known as Basic Law; became constitution of the united Germany 3 October 1990
Ghana approved 28 April 1992
Gibraltar 5 June 2006; came into force 2 January 2007
Greece 11 June 1975; amended March 1986 and April 2001
Greenland (November 2008) Act on Greenland Self Government
Grenada 19 December 1973
Guam Organic Act of Guam, 1 August 1950
Guatemala 31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986; suspended 25 May 1993; reinstated 5 June 1993; 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 in 1996
Guyana 6 October 1980
Haiti approved March 1987
note: suspended June 1988 with most articles reinstated March 1989; constitutional government ousted in a military coup in September 1991, although in October 1991 military government claimed to be observing the constitution; returned to constitutional rule in October 1994; constitution, while technically in force between 2004-2006, was not enforced; returned to constitutional rule in May 2006
Holy See (Vatican City) Fundamental Law promulgated by Pope JOHN PAUL II on 26 November 2000, effective 22 February 2001 (replaced the first Fundamental Law of 1929)
Honduras 11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended many times
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; and 1997
note: 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; amended many times
India 26 January 1950; amended many times
Indonesia August 1945; abrogated by Federal Constitution of 1949 and Provisional Constitution of 1950, restored 5 July 1959; series of amendments concluded in 2002
Iran 2-3 December 1979; revised in 1989
note: the revision in 1989 expanded powers of the presidency and eliminated the prime ministership
Iraq ratified on 15 October 2005 (subject to review by the Constitutional Review Committee and a possible public referendum )
Ireland adopted 1 July 1937 by plebiscite; effective 29 December 1937
Isle of Man unwritten; note - The Isle of Man Constitution Act of 1961 does not embody the unwritten Manx Constitution
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; note - since May 2003 the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee of the Knesset has been working on a draft constitution
Italy passed 11 December 1947, effective 1 January 1948; amended many times
Jamaica 6 August 1962
Japan 3 May 1947
Jersey unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice
Jordan 1 January 1952; amended many times
Kazakhstan first post-independence constitution adopted 28 January 1993; new constitution adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995
Kenya 12 December 1963; amended as a republic 1964; reissued with amendments 1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001; note - a new draft constitution was defeated by popular referendum in 2005
Kiribati 12 July 1979
Korea, North adopted 1948; revised several times
Korea, South 17 July 1948; note - amended or rewritten nine times; current constitution approved on 29 October 1987
Kosovo adopted by the Kosovo Assembly on 9 April 2008; effective 15 June 2008
Kuwait approved and promulgated 11 November 1962
Kyrgyzstan approved by referendum in November 2006
note: under the old constitution adopted on 5 May 1993, an amendment proposed by President Askar AKAEV and passed in a national referendum on 2 February 2003 significantly expanded the powers of the president at the expense of the legislature; during large-scale demonstrations in November 2006, President BAKIEV and the opposition negotiated a new constitution granting greater powers to the parliament and the government; amendments added on 30 December 2006 redistributed some power back to the president, but both November and December 2006 versions were annulled in September 2007, and a new version was approved by referendum on 21 October 2007; the BAKIEV-initiated referendum was criticized by Western observers for voting irregularities, particularly ballot stuffing
Laos promulgated 14 August 1991
Latvia 15 February 1922; restored to force by the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Latvia adopted by the Supreme Council on 21 August 1991; multiple amendments since
Lebanon 23 May 1926; amended a number of times, most recently Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Ta'if Accord) of October 1989
Lesotho 2 April 1993
Liberia 6 January 1986
Libya none; note - following the September 1969 military overthrow of the Libyan government, the Revolutionary Command Council replaced the existing constitution with the Constitutional Proclamation in December 1969; in March 1977, Libya adopted the Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority
Liechtenstein 5 October 1921; amended 15 September 2003
Lithuania adopted 25 October 1992; last amended 13 July 2004
Luxembourg 17 October 1868; occasional revisions
Macau Basic Law, approved on 31 March 1993 by China's National People's Congress, is Macau's "mini-constitution"
Macedonia adopted 17 November 1991, effective 20 November 1991; amended November 2001 and in 2005
note: amended November 2001 by a series of new constitutional amendments strengthening minority rights and in 2005 with amendments related to the judiciary
Madagascar passed by referendum 19 August 1992
Malawi 18 May 1994
Malaysia 31 August 1957; amended many times, the latest in 2007
Maldives new constitution ratified 7 August 2008
Mali adopted 12 January 1992
Malta 1964; amended many times
Marshall Islands 1 May 1979
Mauritania 12 July 1991
Mauritius 12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992
Mayotte 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Mexico 5 February 1917
Micronesia, Federated States of 10 May 1979
Moldova adopted 29 July 1994; effective 27 August 1994; note - replaced 1979 Soviet constitution
Monaco 17 December 1962; modified 2 April 2002
Mongolia 13 January 1992
Montenegro approved 19 October 2007 (by the Assembly)
Montserrat effective 19 December 1989
Morocco 10 March 1972; revised 4 September 1992, amended September 1996
note: the amendment of September 1996 was to create a bicameral legislature
Mozambique 30 November 1990
Namibia ratified 9 February 1990, effective 12 March 1990
Nauru 29 January 1968; amended 17 May 1968
Nepal 15 January 2007 (interim Constitution); note - in April 2008, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft and promulgate a new constitution by May 2010
Netherlands adopted 1815; amended many times, most recently in 2002
Netherlands Antilles 29 December 1954, Statute of the Realm of the Netherlands, as amended
New Caledonia 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
New Zealand consists of a series of legal documents, including certain acts of the UK and New Zealand parliaments, as well as The Constitution Act 1986, which is the principal formal charter; adopted 1 January 1987, effective 1 January 1987
Nicaragua 9 January 1987; revised in 1995, 2000, and 2005
Niger adopted 18 July 1999
Nigeria adopted 5 May 1999; effective 29 May 1999
Niue 19 October 1974 (Niue Constitution Act)
Norfolk Island Norfolk Island Act of 1979 as amended in 2005
Northern Mariana Islands Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands effective 1 January 1978; Covenant Agreement fully effective 4 November 1986
Norway 17 May 1814; amended many times
Oman none; note - on 6 November 1996, Sultan QABOOS issued a royal decree promulgating a basic law considered by the government to be a constitution 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 12 April 1973; suspended 5 July 1977, restored 30 December 1985; suspended 15 October 1999, restored in stages in 2002; amended 31 December 2003; suspended 3 November 2007; restored on 15 December 2007
Palau 1 January 1981
Panama 11 October 1972; revised in 1978, 1983, 1994, and 2004
Papua New Guinea 16 September 1975
Paraguay promulgated 20 June 1992
Peru 29 December 1993
Philippines 2 February 1987, effective 11 February 1987
Pitcairn Islands 30 November 1838; reformed 1904 with additional reforms in 1940; further refined by the Local Government Ordinance of 1964
Poland adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 25 May 1997; effective 17 October 1997
Portugal adopted 2 April 1976; subsequently revised
note: the revisions placed the military under strict civilian control, trimmed the powers of the president, and laid the groundwork for a stable, pluralistic liberal democracy; and they allowed for the privatization of nationalized firms and the government-owned communications media
Puerto Rico ratified 3 March 1952; approved by US Congress 3 July 1952; effective 25 July 1952
Qatar ratified by public referendum on 29 April 2003, endorsed by the Amir on 8 June 2004, effective on 9 June 2005
Romania 8 December 1991; revised 29 October 2003
Russia adopted 12 December 1993
Rwanda new constitution passed by referendum 26 May 2003
Saint Barthelemy 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Saint Helena 1 January 1989
Saint Kitts and Nevis 19 September 1983
Saint Lucia 22 February 1979
Saint Martin 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 4 October 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 Islamic law; the Basic Law that articulates the government's rights and responsibilities was promulgated by royal decree in 1992
Senegal adopted 7 January 2001
Serbia adopted 8 November 2006; effective 10 November 2006
Seychelles 18 June 1993
Sierra Leone 1 October 1991; amended several times
Singapore 3 June 1959; amended 1965 (based on pre-independence State of Singapore Constitution)
Slovakia ratified 1 September 1992, effective 1 January 1993; changed in September 1998; amended February 2001
note: the change in September 1998 allowed direct election of the president; the amendment of February 2001 allowed Slovakia to apply for NATO and EU membership
Slovenia adopted 23 December 1991, amended 14 July 1997 and 25 July 2000
Solomon Islands 7 July 1978
Somalia 25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979
note: the formation of transitional governing institutions, known as the Transitional Federal Government, is currently ongoing
South Africa 10 December 1996; note - certified by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996; was signed by then President MANDELA on 10 December 1996; and entered into effect on 4 February 1997
Spain approved by legislature 31 October 1978; passed by referendum 6 December 1978; effective 29 December 1978
Sri Lanka adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978; amended 20 December 2000
Sudan Interim National Constitution ratified 5 July 2005
note: under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Interim National Constitution was ratified 5 July 2005; Constitution of Southern Sudan was signed December 2005
Suriname ratified 30 September 1987; effective 30 October 1987
Swaziland signed by the King in July 2005 went into effect on 8 February 2006
Sweden 1 January 1975
Switzerland revision of Constitution of 1874 approved by the Federal Parliament 18 December 1998, adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, officially entered into force 1 January 2000
Syria 13 March 1973
Taiwan adopted on 25 December 1946; effective 25 December 1947; amended in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2005
Tajikistan 6 November 1994
Tanzania 25 April 1977; major revisions October 1984
Thailand 24 August 2007
Timor-Leste 22 March 2002 (based on the Portuguese model)
Togo adopted by public referendum 27 September 1992
Tokelau administered under the Tokelau Islands Act of 1948; amended in 1970
Tonga 4 November 1875; revised 1 January 1967
Trinidad and Tobago 1 August 1976
Tunisia 1 June 1959; amended 1988, 2002
Turkey 7 November 1982; amended 17 May 1987, 1995, 2001, and 2007; note - amendment passed by referendum concerning presidential elections on 21 October 2007
Turkmenistan adopted 18 May 1992
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution (Interim Amendment) Order 2009, S.I. 2009/701 - effective 14 August 2009 - suspended Ministerial government, the House of Assembly, and the constitutional right to trial by jury, and imposed direct British rule
Tuvalu 1 October 1978
Uganda 8 October 1995; amended in 2005
note: the amendments in 2005 removed presidential term limits and legalized a multiparty political system
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 15 February 1967; suspended 27 June 1973; revised 26 November 1989 and 7 January 1997
Uzbekistan 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 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Yemen 16 May 1991; amended 29 September 1994 and February 2001
Zambia 24 August 1991; amended in 1996 to establish presidential term limits
Zimbabwe 21 December 1979
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