Constitution Day in Indonesia Date in the current year: August 18, 2024

Constitution Day in Indonesia Constitution Day (Hari Konstitusi Republik Indonesia) is celebrated in Indonesia on August 18 every year. It was established by a 2008 presidential decree to commemorate the ratification of the 1945 State Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.

The 1945 Constitution of Indonesia, which is still in effect, was written during the final months of the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies. Its foundation was laid in March 1945, when the Japanese 16th Army that managed Java established the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Independence (BPUPK). The 25th Army later did the same for Sumatra.

The BPUPK in Java was led by Rajiman Wediodiningrat, and among its members were the future first president of Indonesia Sukarno and vice president Mohammad Hatta. The first two sessions of the committee, held in May/June and July 1945, were focused on general matters, including the five fundamental principles of the Indonesian state (Pancasila).

In between the sessions, a constitutional committee was formed. Aptly named the Committee of Nine, it consisted of four secular Muslim nationalists (Sukarno, Hatta, Mohammad Yamin and Achmad Soebardjo), four Muslim nationalists (Abikoesno Tjokrosoejoso, Abdoel Kahar Moezakir, Agus Salim, Wahid Hasjim), and a secular Christian nationalist (A. A. Maramis).

The Committee of Nine drew up and presented the Jakarta Charter, which was based on the principles of Pancasila formulated by Sukarno and would later be reworked into the preamble to the Indonesian constitution. During the second session of the BPUPK, which opened less than three weeks after the publication of the Jakarta Charter, a committee of 19 Indonesian nationalists produced a draft of the Constitution.

Following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the Japanese authorities established the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence (PPKI) to ensure the transfer of authority from the Japanese to Indonesian nationalists. Japan announced its unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945, and Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed the independence of Indonesia on August 17. The following day, the PPKI met to discuss the draft constitution; its revised version was adopted and went into effect on the same day, August 18, 1945.

After the end of the Indonesian War of Independence, the 1949 Federal Constitution of the United States of Indonesia came into force to solidify the transfer of sovereignty from the Netherlands to Indonesia, replacing the 1945 Constitution. Several months later, Indonesia unilaterally withdrew from its union with the Netherlands and adopted the Provisional Constitution that came into effect on August 17, 1950 (the fifth anniversary of Indonesia’s independence). In 1959, Sukarno restored the 1945 Constitution; it has been in effect ever since, although with some major amendments.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono established Constitution Day by his decree in 2008 to commemorate the adoption of the 1945 Constitution and highlight its historical significance. Constitution Day is celebrated the day after Independence Day, but it is not a public holiday.

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