The Constitution of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, June 28, 1921 (St Vitus's Day Constitution)

First page of St Vitus's Day Constitution The Constitutional Assembly adopted the Constitution with the negligent simple majority of 223 votes for. There were 35 votes against and 158 MPs were absent. When the Constitution was adopted, it became evident that there was a big discrepancy in the political parties' views on the key issues of state organisation and type of authority.

Signers of St Vitus's Day Constitution Under the Constitution, the state was defined as a constitutional, parliamentary and hereditary monarchy. The Constitution defined the coat-of-arms, flag and name of the official language, which was Serbo-Croat-Slovene. The perception of "one people with three names" became prominent in the name of the state, its external features (coat-of-arms, flag) and name of the official language.

The Constitution did not recognise nobility, titles, "or any advantages gained by birth." It guaranteed personal freedom and freedom of confession, conscience and the press, right to form associations, to meet and to make agreements. It banned loansharking, abolished feudal relations and the serfs became the owners of state land without compensation on the date of liberation from the foreign rule.

The National Assembly was monocameral and made up of members that people elected directly in a secret ballot. The right to vote was granted to every man who turned 21.

Signers of St Vitus's Day Constitution Although the Constitution was based on the distribution of power, the king participated in all three forms of authority. The legislative authority was represented by parliament and head of state, who called the regular or special sessions of the National Assembly, had the right to dissolve it and approved laws adopted by it. The king had administrative power over the ministers. He appointed the prime minister and government members, who were accountable to him and the National Assembly. The judicial authority was vested in the courts and their judgements were delivered and enforced in the name of the king.

Signers of St Vitus's Day Constitution The Constitution envisaged the centralist organisation of the state. The administrative centralism stemmed from the national unitarism, i.e. perception of national unity. The top legal act envisaged that the administration in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes be divided into regions, districts, circuits and municipalities. Under the Constitution, regions were formed on the basis of natural, social and economic circumstances and they could be populated by up to 800,000 people. The local, municipal, circuit and regional governance was established. The bodies of regional administration were the regional assemblies and regional committees. The state administrative authority supervised the operation of local authorities through the grand chieftain, who was appointed by the king, and special expert bodies.

Under a decree on the division into regions of April 26, 1922, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was divided into 33 regions, according to the geographic, social, economic as well as ethnic and historic principles

 

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE KINGDOM OF SERBS, CROATS AND SLOVENES, 1921 pdf icon, (962.25 kB)

 

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