The Croatian Parliament adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia on 22 December 1990, so it is popularly known as the ‘Christmas Constitution’. The Constitution was amended in 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2010.
The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia comprises several types of legal norms which determine the historical foundation of the state and prescribe and protect the basic rights and duties of its citizens and governmental institutions in accordance with liberal, democratic and social values. In terms of the range and number of its articles, it is one of the shortest European constitutions.
The original grounds of the Constitution cite documents regarding the historical foundations and continuity of the statehood and sovereignty of the Croatian state since the early medieval Croatian duchies, to the decision of the State Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia in 1943, then the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Croatia in 1947, to the constitutions of the Socialist Republic of Croatia (1963–90).
The basic provisions determine Croatia to be a unitary, democratic and social state. The sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia is inalienable, indivisible and non-transferable. Freedom, equal rights, national equality and gender equality, love of peace, social justice, respect for human rights, the inviolability of ownership, conservation of nature and the environment, the rule of law and a democratic, multiparty system are the highest values of the constitutional order.
According to norms which regulate the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone enjoys all rights and freedoms, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, political or other belief, national or social origin, property, birth, education, social status or other characteristics. All are equal before the law, while members of national minorities are guaranteed the freedom to express their nationality, the freedom to use their language and script, and cultural autonomy. Furthermore, freedom of thought and expression, the freedom of conscience and religion, and the freedom to manifest religion or other convictions are all guaranteed, while all religious communities are equal before the law and separate from the state. Croatian citizens have universal and equal suffrage when they reach 18 years of age. The right of ownership is guaranteed and free enterprise and free markets form the basis of the economic system. Everyone has the right to work and freedom of work and the right to health care.
According to the norms which regulate the organisation of state powers, the sphere of the Croatian Parliament is determined as the legislative power; the Government and the President of the Republic as the executive power; also present are the judicial power and the scope of work of the State Attorney’s Office. The Constitution also determines the position of the Constitutional Court, the administrative division of the state into regional (counties) and local (towns and municipalities) self-government and determines relations with other states.