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Constitution of Serbia

The current Constitution of the Republic of Serbia (Serbian: Устав Републике Србије / Ustav Republike Srbije), also known as Mitrovdan Constitution (Митровдански устав / Mitrovdanski ustav) was adopted in 2006, replacing the previous constitution dating from 1990.[1] The adoption of new constitution became necessary in 2006 when Serbia became independent after Montenegro's secession and the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro. This constitution does not apply to the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo which attained independence in 2008.

Constitution of Serbia
Flag of Serbia.svg
Constitution of the Republic of Serbia
Territorial extent Serbia (excluding Kosovo)
Enacted by National Assembly
Date enacted 30 September 2006
Date commenced 8 November 2006
Related legislation
Constitution of Kosovo
Status: In force

The proposed text of the constitution was adopted by the National Assembly on 30 September 2006 and put on referendum which was held on 28–29 October 2006. After 53.04% of the electorate supported the proposed constitution, it was officially adopted on 8 November 2006.

The Constitution contains a preamble, 206 articles, 11 parts, and no amendments.

Contents

Main provisionsEdit

Among the constitution's two hundred other articles are guarantees of human and minority rights, abolishment of capital punishment, and banning of human cloning. It assigns the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet as the official script, while making provisions for the use of minority languages at local levels.[2] Among the differences between the current and previous constitution are:

  • Only private, corporate and public property is acknowledged; social assets shall cease to exist.
  • Foreign citizens are permitted to own property.
  • Full independence is granted to the National Bank of Serbia.
  • As part of a process of decentralization, the granting of municipal properties' ownership rights to local municipalities.
  • The province of Vojvodina is granted limited financial autonomy.
  • The constitution mentions "European values and standards" for the first time.
  • The constitution assigns the Serbian language and the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet as the official language and alphabet in use, respectively.
  • The adoption of the national anthem, Bože pravde (God of Justice).
  • Special protection for the rights of consumers, mothers, children and minorities.
  • Greater freedom of information.
  • Marriage is defined as the "union between a man and a woman"

Constitutional status of KosovoEdit

The current constitution defines the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija as an integral part of Serbia, but with "substantial autonomy". Under the opinion of the Venice Commission in respect to substantial autonomy of Kosovo, an examination of The Constitution makes it clear that this fundamental autonomy is not at all guaranteed at the constitutional level, as the constitution delegates almost every important aspect of this autonomy to the legislature.[3]

According to writer Noel Malcolm, the 1903 constitution was still in force at the time that Serbia annexed Kosovo[4][5][6] during the First Balkan War. He elaborates that this constitution required a Grand National Assembly before Serbia's borders could be expanded to include Kosovo; but no such Grand National Assembly was ever held. Constitutionally, he argues, Kosovo should not have become part of the Kingdom of Serbia. It was initially ruled by decree.[7][8][page needed]

StructureEdit

PreambleEdit

The Constitution of Serbia contains a preamble:

"Considering the state tradition of the Serbian people and equality of all citizens and ethnic communities in Serbia,
Considering also that the Province of Kosovo and Metohija is an integral part of the territory of Serbia, that it has the status of a substantial autonomy within the sovereign state of Serbia and that from such status of the Province of Kosovo and Metohija follow constitutional obligations of all state bodies to uphold and protect the state interests of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija in all internal and foreign political relations,
the citizens of Serbia adopt"

ChaptersEdit

The Constitution of Serbia is divided into 10 chapters:

  1. Constitution Principles
  2. Human and Minority Rights and Freedoms
  3. Economic System and Public Finances
  4. Competencies of the Republic of Serbia
  5. Organisation of Government
  6. The Constitutional Court
  7. Territorial Organization
  8. Constitutionality and Legality
  9. Amending the Constitution
  10. Final Provision

Constitutional historyEdit

 
Front page of the "Candlemas constitution" of 1835

Serbia has adopted 11 constitutions throughout its history.[9] Listed below in order of year adopted:

Between 1918 and 1945 Serbia was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, and had no constitution of its own.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Rare unity over Serb constitution". BBC News. 30 October 2006.
  2. ^ "Šta donosi predlog novog ustava Srbije" (in Serbian). B92. 30 September 2006.
  3. ^ "Opinion on the Constitution of Serbia" (PDF). Venice Commission. 17/18 March 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 13, 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ World and Its Peoples, Marshall Cavendish, 2010, p 1985
  5. ^ Balkan Worlds, Traian Stoianovich, M.E. Sharpe, Sep 1, 1994, p 303,304
  6. ^ Central and South-Eastern Europe 2004, Europa Publications Psychology Press, 2003 - Political Science
  7. ^ Malcolm, Noel (1999). Kosovo: A Short History. Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-097775-7.
  8. ^ Perić, La question constitutionelle en Serbie, Paris 1914
  9. ^ Serbian Constitutional History Part I Archived March 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.

External linksEdit