1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia
The Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (Ústava Československé socialistické / Československej socialistickej republiky in Czech / Slovak), promulgated on 11 July 1960 as the constitutional law 100/1960 Sb., codified the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

. As the country's second post-war constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

, it replaced the 1948 Ninth-of-May Constitution
Ninth-of-May Constitution
The Ninth-of-May Constitution was a constitution of Czechoslovakia in force from 1948 to 1960. It came into force on May 9, shortly after the communist seizure of power in the country on 25 February 1948. It replaced the 1920 Constitution...

 and remained in force until the split of Czechoslovakia in 1992, though widely changed by Constitutional Law of Federation
Constitutional Law of Federation
The Constitutional Law of Federation was a constitutional law in Czechoslovakia adopted on 27 October 1968 and in force from 1969 – 1992, by which the unitary Czechoslovak state was turned into a federation.-Federation:...

 in 1968 and extensively revised after the Velvet Revolution
Velvet Revolution
The Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution was a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that took place from November 17 – December 29, 1989...



The most important change in the 1960 Constitution was that it severely limited the autonomy granted to Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

. This provision was the decision of President Antonín Novotný
Antonín Novotný
Antonín Novotný was General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1953 to 1968, and also held the post of President of Czechoslovakia from 1957 to 1968. He was born in Letňany, now part of Prague....

. The executive branch of the Slovak government was abolished and its duties assigned to the Presidium of the Slovak National Council
Slovak National Council
The Slovak National Council is the name of different types of supreme bodies in the history of Slovakia. They existed within the Kingdom of Hungary, Czechoslovakia or the Slovak Republic or were bodies of Slovak exiles:...

, thus combining executive and legislative functions into a single body. The legislative National Assembly was given authority to overrule decisions of the Slovak National Council, and central government agencies took over the administration of the major organs of Slovak local government.

The greatest outward change was change of the country's name from the Czechoslovak Republic (which was described as a people's democracy
People's Republic
People's Republic is a title that has often been used by Marxist-Leninist governments to describe their state. The motivation for using this term lies in the claim that Marxist-Leninists govern in accordance with the interests of the vast majority of the people, and, as such, a Marxist-Leninist...

 after the 1948 Communist takeover) to Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the official name of Czechoslovakia from 1960 until end of 1989 , a Soviet satellite state of the Eastern Bloc....

. Due to Novotný's devotion to Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 and oneupmanship among other Eastern Bloc countries, Czechoslovakia was declared the first country after "our great ally, the fraternal Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" which achieved socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 (3 years before Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

 and 5 before Socialist Republic of Romania). Thus the constitution's preamble said that "socialism has won in our country" and so "finishing the socialist construction, we are changing over to building an advanced socialist society and gathering strength for the transition to communism." Infamous Article 4 stipulated that "the leading force in the society and the state is the vanguard of the working class, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, in Czech and in Slovak: Komunistická strana Československa was a Communist and Marxist-Leninist political party in Czechoslovakia that existed between 1921 and 1992....

" (KSČ).

The constitution was first amended by constitutional laws 110/1967 (status of Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 local councils to be set by special law), 28/1968 (similar for Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

), the Constitutional Law of Federation
Constitutional Law of Federation
The Constitutional Law of Federation was a constitutional law in Czechoslovakia adopted on 27 October 1968 and in force from 1969 – 1992, by which the unitary Czechoslovak state was turned into a federation.-Federation:...

 143/1968 and accompanying 144/1968 on ethnic minorities, and further by constitutional laws 57/1969 (local councils put into the authority of national republics), 155/1969 (court reform), 43/1971 (elected bodies term of office prolonged to 5 years from 4), 50/1975 (this actually affected only the Constitutional Law of Federation, into which the Presidency had been moved: President unable to carry out his duties over a year can be replaced, i. e. ill Ludvík Svoboda
Ludvík Svoboda
thumb|Svoboda and [[I Corps |I Czechoslovak Army Corps]]Ludvík Svoboda was a Czechoslovak general and politician...

 with Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Communist leader of Czechoslovakia and of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia...

), 62/1978 (a minor change about schooling, see below), 135/1989 (leading role of the KSČ abolished etc.) and several times during 1990–1992 (e. g. 102/1990 change of the national symbols
National symbols
A national symbol is a symbol of any entity considering itself and manifesting itself to the world as a national community – namely sovereign states, but also nations and countries in a state of colonial or other dependence, federal integration, or even an ethnocultural community considered a...

 - the constitutional laws changing the country's name twice weren't formally amendments to the constitution; 23/1991 incorporation of the human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 charter that replaced the Chapter 2 below, etc).


The Constitution consisted of a preamble and 112 articles divided into 9 chapters. Chapter 1, entitled "The Social Order," declares Czechoslovakia to be "socialist state, founded on the firm bond of workers, peasants and intelligentsia, in whose lead is the working class"; it "belongs to the world socialist system
Soviet Empire
During the Cold War, the informal term "Soviet Empire" referred to the Soviet Union's influence over a number of smaller nations who were nominally independent but subject to direct military force if they tried to leave the Soviet system; see Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and Prague Spring.Though...

; strives for friendly relations to all nations and securing lasting peace in the whole world". The paragraph whereby it was "a unitary State of two fraternal nations possessing equal rights – the Czechs and the Slovaks" was changed into "federative state" and moved into the Law of Federation in 1968. Article 2 states that "all power in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic shall belong to the working people." State power will be exercised "by the working people through representative bodies which are elected by, surveilled by, and accountable to them." Principles of the "socialist economic system, in which the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

 are socialised and the entire national economy directed by plan" and the rules of democratic centralism
Democratic centralism
Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party...

, are also laid out. "Socialist ownership" takes two forms: state ownership especially of natural resources, the means of industrial production, public transportation and communications, banks and insurance companies, mass media and health, educational, and scientific facilities; and cooperative
A cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit...

 ownership, which is the property of people's cooperatives (Art. 8). Small private enterprises "based on [owner's] personal labour and excluding exploitation of others' workforce" are permitted within limits (9) formally; this in practice concerned agriculture. Personal ownership of consumer goods, "family homes, and savings earned through labour" is guaranteed, as is inheritance of such property (10).

Chapter 2 describes the rights and duties of citizens. Equal rights regardless of nationality, race, or sex are guaranteed (20). Education is free and compulsory to the age of fifteen (24; this was changed to "set by law" as unpractical in the education reform of 1970s); citizens of Hungarian, Ukrainian, and Polish ethnicity are ensured "all opportunities and means for education in their mother tongue" (25; this was abolished and replaced by somewhat more detailed constitutional law on minorities 144/1968, which also took in account Germans and listed Rusyns
Carpatho-Rusyns are a primarily diasporic ethnic group who speak an Eastern Slavic language, or Ukrainian dialect, known as Rusyn. Carpatho-Rusyns descend from a minority of Ruthenians who did not adopt the use of the ethnonym "Ukrainian" in the early twentieth century...

 as synonym to Ukrainians). "All citizens have the right of work and compensation for work done according to its amount, quality and social import" (21), "all workers" have the right of medical care and material security in old age and in case of disability (23). "In accordance with the interests of the working people, all citizens are guaranteed" freedom of speech and press (28). Also guaranteed is the "right to profess any religious faith or to be without religious conviction, and to practice religious acts unless this contravenes the law"; conscientious objection to "civic duty set by law" based on religious conviction is specifically prohibited (32) while citizens are bound to serve in the armed forces (37).
Chapters 3 to 6 deal with the National Assembly, President, government and Slovak National Council respectively and were abolished and replaced by the Constitutional Law of Federation
Constitutional Law of Federation
The Constitutional Law of Federation was a constitutional law in Czechoslovakia adopted on 27 October 1968 and in force from 1969 – 1992, by which the unitary Czechoslovak state was turned into a federation.-Federation:...

 in 1968. Chapter 7 concerns National Committees (i. e. local and regional government), 8 judiciary system and 9 general and concluding provisions.

See also

  • Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia
  • Government structure of Communist Czechoslovakia
    Government structure of Communist Czechoslovakia
    The government of Czechoslovakia under communism was in theory a democratic one directed by the proletariat. In practice, it was a one-party dictatorship run by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, the KSC....

External links

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