June 28th Ukrainians celebrate the 21th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution.
The Constitution of Ukraine is the nation’s fundamental law. The constitution was adopted and ratified at the 5th session of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine on 28 June 1996. The constitution was passed with 315 ayes out of 450 votes possible (300 ayes minimum).
Other laws and other normative legal acts of Ukraine must conform to the constitution. The right to amend the constitution through a special legislative procedure is vested exclusively with the parliament. The only body that may interpret the constitution and determine whether legislation conforms to it is the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
Since 1996 the public holiday Constitution Day is celebrated 28 June.
Until June 8, 1995, Ukraine’s supreme law was the Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Ukrainian SSR (adopted in 1978, with numerous later amendments). On June 8, 1995, President Leonid Kuchma and Speaker Oleksandr Moroz (acting on behalf of the parliament) signed the Constitutional Agreement for the period until a new constitution could be drafted.
The first constitution since independence was adopted during an overnight parliamentary session of June 27-June 28, 1996, unofficially known as “the constitutional night of 1996.” The Law No. 254/96-BP ratifying the constitution, nullifying previous constitutions and the Agreement was ceremonially signed and promulgated in mid-July 1996. However, according to a ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the constitution took force at the moment when the results of the parliamentary vote were announced on June 28, 1996 at approx. 9 a.m. Kiev local time.