|Between the two documents of great importance for the Ukrainian people there is a period of 6 years. The first of them is the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. It was adopted in July 1990. The second one is the Fundamental Law of our country — the Constitution of Ukraine. It was adopted on the 28th of June, 1996, by the Verkhovna Rada, as only the Verkhovna Rada can speak on behalf of the whole Ukrainian people according to the Act of Ukraine's Independence of August 24, 1991.
These 6 years were a hard time for our country, the time when stereotypes in politics and economics were broken every day, when the Ukrainians were looking for their own way to the European community.
The Constitution establishes the country's political system, assures rights, freedoms and duties of citizens, and is the basis for its laws.
Chapter I of the Constitution asserts that Ukraine is a sovereign and independent, democratic, and legal state. The state language in Ukraine is Ukrainian.
The state symbols of Ukraine are the State Flag, the State Emblem and the State Anthem of Ukraine. The State Flag is a blue and yellow banner made from two equal horizontal stripes.
The main element of Great State Emblem of Ukraine is the trident, an ancient symbol of the Ukrainian people.
The State Anthem of Ukraine is a song "Shche Ne Umerla Ukraina" (Ukraine Has Not Perished Yet). The words of the anthem belong to Pavlo Chubynsky and were published first in 1863. In the same year this poem was set to music by Galician composer Mychailo Verbytsky. The words of this song had been mistakenly ascribed to Taras Shevchenko for a long time.
Chapter II assures human and civil rights, freedoms and obligations. It states that every person has the right to the free development of his or her personality. There are no privileges or restrictions based upon race, colour of skin, political and other beliefs, gender, ethnic and social origin, property, ownership, position, place of residence, language, religion or other circumstances.
Citizens have equal Constitutional rights and freedoms. They are equal before the law. The Constitution assures the freedom of thought and speech, the free expression of views and beliefs, the freedom of conscience and religion.
The articles of this chapter guarantee the rights to life, personal inviolability and the inviolability of dwelling.
The right of private property is inviolable too. Every person has the right to own, use and manage his or her property and results of the intellectual and creative work.
Defence of the Motherland is the duty of citizens. Citizens of Ukraine are obliged to defend its independence and territorial integrity. No person may damage the environment, cultural heritage.
Chapter III defines the principles of elections. Elections to the bodies of state* power are held on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.
Chapter IV deals with the activities of the Verkhovna Rada. There are 450 people's deputies who are elected for a term of four years. In order to be elected as a deputy, a person must be a citizen of Ukraine. He must be at least 21 years of age. And he must be resided in the territory of Ukraine for no less than the previous five years.
The Verkhovna Rada's main function is making laws. Law drafting work is performed by its Committees.
The Verkhovna Rada adopts the State Budget and controls the execution of it.
Chapter V specifies the powers and obligations of the President. The President of Ukraine is the head of the State and speaks on behalf of it. He is elected directly by the voters for a term of five years. He can't be elected for more than two full terms.
Chapter VI deals with the executive power of Ukraine. The highest body of the executive power is the Cabinet of Ministers. It is responsible to the President and is accountable to the Verkhovna Rada.
Chapters VII-VIII outline the activities of the judicial power. Justice in Ukraine is exercised entirely by courts. The Supreme Court of Ukraine is the highest juridical body of general jurisdiction.
The Constitution of Ukraine consists of 15 chapters, 161 articles.
The day of its adoption is a state holiday — the Day of the Constitution of Ukraine.