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A supermajority, supra-majority, qualified majority, or special majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for a
majority A majority, also called a simple majority to distinguish it from similar terms (see the "Related terms" section below), is the greater part, or more than half, of the total.See dictionary definitions of "majority" aMerriam-Webster
. Supermajority rules in a
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
can help to prevent a majority from eroding fundamental rights of a minority. Changes to
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
s, especially those with
entrenched clause An entrenched clause or entrenchment clause of a basic law In countries with uncodified constitutions, basic law is the denomination of a law providing constitutional powers. In Germany ''basic law'' ("Grundgesetz") is the name given to the codifie ...
s, commonly require supermajority support in a
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
.
Parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social grou ...
requires that any action of a
deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a meeting of Collective, members who use parliamentary procedure. Etymology In a speech to the electorate at Bristol in 1774, Edmund Burke described the Parliament of Great Britain, British Parliament as a "deliberativ ...
that may alter the rights of a minority have a supermajority requirement, such as a two-thirds vote. Related concepts regarding alternatives to the majority vote requirement include a majority of the entire membership and a majority of the fixed membership. A supermajority can also be specified based on the entire membership or fixed membership rather than on those present and voting.


History

The first known use of a supermajority rule was in the 100s BCE in
ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
.
Pope Alexander III Pope Alexander III (c. 1100/1105 – 30 August 1181), born Roland ( it, Rolando), was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion bap ...

Pope Alexander III
introduced the use of supermajority rule for
papal election A papal conclave is a gathering of the College of Cardinals The College of Cardinals, formerly styled the Sacred College of Cardinals, is the body of all Cardinal (Catholicism), cardinals of the Catholic Church. List of living cardinals ...
s at the
Third Lateran Council The Third Council of the Lateran met in Rome in March 1179. Pope Alexander III Pope Alexander III (c. 1100/1105 – 30 August 1181), born Roland ( it, Rolando), was the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member ...
in 1179. In the
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
of the United States, a rule requiring the determination of a
presidential nominee In United States politics and government, the term presidential nominee has two different meanings: # A candidate for president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of t ...
required the votes of two-thirds of delegates to the
Democratic National Convention The Democratic National Convention (DNC) is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1832 by the United States Democratic Party The Democratic Party is one of the two 2 (two) is a number, numeral (lin ...
was adopted at the party's first
presidential nominating convention A United States presidential nominating convention is a political convention held every four years in the United States by most of the political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a coun ...
in
1832 Events January–March * January 6 Events Pre-1600 *1066 – Following the death of Edward the Confessor on the previous day, the Witan meets to confirm Harold Godwinson as the new King of England; Harold is crowned the same day ...
. The two-thirds rule gave
southern DemocratsSouthern Democrats are members of the U.S. Democratic Party who reside in the Southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural List of re ...
a ''de facto'' veto over any presidential nominee after the Civil War, which lasted until the rule was abolished in
1936 Events January * January 4 Events Pre-1600 *46 BC – Julius Caesar fights Titus Labienus in the Battle of Ruspina. *871 – Battle of Reading (871), Battle of Reading: Æthelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred the Great, Alfr ...
.


Common supermajorities

A
majority vote A majority, also called a simple majority to distinguish it from similar terms (see the "Related terms" section below), is the greater part, or more than half, of the total.See dictionary definitions of "majority" aMerriam-Webster
, or more than half the votes cast, is a common
voting basis Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituency, electorate, in order to make a collective decision making, decision or express an opinion usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns. Democracy, Democracies ...
. Instead of the basis of a majority, a supermajority can be specified using any fraction or percentage which is greater than one-half. It can also be called a ''qualified majority''. Common supermajorities include three-fifths (60%), two-thirds (66.66...%), and three-quarters (75%).


Two-thirds, or 66.66... percent

A two-thirds vote, when unqualified, means two-thirds or more of the votes cast..p This voting basis is equivalent to the number of votes in favour being at least twice the number of votes against.
Abstention Abstention is a term in election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mecha ...

Abstention
s and absences are excluded in calculating a two-thirds vote. The two-thirds requirement can be qualified to include the entire membership of a body instead of only those present and voting, but such a requirement must be explicitly stated (such as "two-thirds of those members duly elected and sworn"). In this case, abstentions and absences count as votes against the proposal. Alternatively, the voting requirement could be specified as "two-thirds of those present", which has the effect of counting abstentions but not absences as votes against the proposal. For example, if an organization has 150 members and at a meeting 30 members are present with 25 votes cast, a "two-thirds vote" would be 17. ("Two-thirds of those present" would be 20, and "two-thirds of the entire membership" would be 100.)


Three-fifths, or 60 percent

Another type of supermajority is three-fifths (60 percent). This requirement could also be qualified to include the entire membership or to include those present. In 2006, the
Constitution of Florida Florida has been governed by six different constitutions since acceding to the United States. Before 1838, only the Spanish Constitution of 1812 was briefly enacted in Florida. A monument commemorating '' La Constitución de Cádiz'' still stands ...
was amended to require a 60% majority to pass new constitutional amendments by popular vote.


55 percent

For the Montenegrin independence referendum held in 2006 the European Union Miroslav Lajčák proposed independence if a 55% supermajority of votes are cast in favor with a minimum turnout of 50%. Such procedure, ultimately accepted by the
government of Montenegro The Government of Montenegro ( sr, Влада Црне Горе, Vlada Crne Gore) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of ...
, was somewhat criticized as overriding the traditional practice of requiring a two-thirds supermajority, as practiced in all ex Yugoslav countries before (including the previous referendum in Montenegro). In 2016, the
Constitution of Colorado The Constitution of the State of Colorado is the foundation of the laws and government of the U.S. state of Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West region of the United States. It e ...
was amended to require a 55% majority to pass new constitutional amendments by popular vote. It had previously been a simple majority.


Related concepts

Related concepts regarding alternatives to the majority vote requirement include a "majority of the entire membership" and a "majority of the fixed membership".


Majority of the entire membership

A majority of the entire membership is a
voting basis Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituency, electorate, in order to make a collective decision making, decision or express an opinion usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns. Democracy, Democracies ...
that requires that more than half of all the members of a body (including those absent and those present but not voting) vote in favor of a proposition in order for it to be passed. In practical terms, it means an absence or an abstention from voting is equivalent to a "no" vote. It may be contrasted with a majority vote which only requires more than half of those actually voting to approve a proposition for it to be enacted. An absolute majority may also be the same as a majority of the entire membership, although this usage is not consistent. In addition, a supermajority could be specified in this voting basis, such as a vote of "two-thirds of the entire membership". By way of illustration, in February 2007 the Italian Government fell after it lost a vote in the
Italian Senate The Senate of the Republic ( it, Senato della Repubblica) or Senate ( it, Senato) is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Italy, Italian Parliament (the other being the Chamber of Deputies (Italy), Chamber of Deputies). The two houses ...
by 158 votes to 136 (with 24 abstentions). The government needed an absolute majority in the 318 member house but fell two votes short of the required 160 when two of its own supporters abstained. In the
United States Electoral College The United States Electoral College is the group of presidential electors required by the Constitution of the United States, Constitution to form every four years for the sole purpose of electing the President of the United States, president ...

United States Electoral College
, an absolute majority of electoral votes are required for it to elect the US president and vice-president.


Majority of the fixed membership

A majority of the fixed membership is based on the total number of the established fixed membership of the deliberative assembly. It is used only when a specific number of seats or memberships is established in the rules governing the organization. A majority of the fixed membership would be different from a majority of the entire membership if there are vacancies. For example, say a
board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting board ** Sounding board, of a musical instrument * Cardboard (paper product) * Paperboard *Corrugated fiberboard *Fiberbo ...
has 12 seats. If the board has the maximum number of members, or 12 members, a majority of the entire membership and a majority of the fixed membership would be seven members. However, if there are two vacancies (so that there are only ten members on the board), then a majority of the entire membership would be six members (more than half of ten), but a majority of the fixed membership would still be seven members. It is possible for organizations that use a majority of the fixed membership to be caught in a
stalemate In chess Chess is a board game played between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called Western chess, or international chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games such as xiangqi. The current form of the game emerged ...
if at least half the membership consists of vacancies, making it impossible to perform any actions until those vacancies are filled. The requirement for a minimum number of members to be present in order to conduct business, called a
quorum A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural law, ...
, may be used to avoid such a possibility. Similar to the voting basis for the entire membership, a supermajority could be specified for this basis, such as a vote of "two-thirds of the fixed membership".


Use in parliamentary procedure

Parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social grou ...
requires that any action that may alter the rights of a minority have a supermajority requirement. ''
Robert's Rules of Order ''Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised'', commonly referred to as ''Robert's Rules of Order'', RONR, or simply ''Robert's Rules'', is a political book based on the original Robert's Rules of Order written by Henry Martyn Robert Henry Martyn Ro ...
'' states:This book also states:


Use in governments around the world


Canada

In Canada, most constitutional amendments can be passed only if identical resolutions are adopted by the House of Commons, the Senate and two-thirds or more of the provincial legislative assemblies representing at least 50 percent of the national population.


Denmark

Article 20 of the
Constitution of Denmark The Constitutional Act of the Realm of Denmark ( da, Danmarks Riges Grundlov), also known as the Constitutional Act of the Kingdom of Denmark, or simply the Constitution ( da, Grundloven, fo, Grundlógin, kl, Tunngaviusumik inatsit), is the con ...
states that if the government or parliament wants to cede parts of national sovereignty to an international body such as the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
or the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
, it has to get a five-sixths majority in the
Folketing The Folketing ( da, Folketinget, ; ), also known as the Parliament of Denmark or the Danish Parliament in English, is the unicameral In , unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or . Thus ...
(150 out of 179 seats). If there is only a simple majority, a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
must be held on the subject.


European Union


Council

The
Council of the European Union A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A ...

Council of the European Union
uses 'Qualified majority voting' for the majority of issues brought before the institution. However, for matters of extreme importance for individual member states, is implemented. An example of this is
Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union The Treaty on European Union (2007) is one of the primary Treaties of the European Union, alongside the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union The Treaty on the Functioning of the Europe ...
, whereby a member state can have its rights suspended with the unanimous approval of all other member states. After the accession of Croatia, on 1July 2013, at least 260 votes out of a total of 352 by at least 15 member states were required for legislation to be adopted by qualified majority. From 1July 2013, the pass condition translated into: # At least 15 (or 18, if proposal was not made by the commission) countries, # At least 260 of the total 352 voting weights, # At least 313.6 million people represented by the states that vote in favour.


Parliament

Requirements to reach an absolute majority is a common feature of voting in the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
(EP) where under the
ordinary legislative procedure The European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total popula ...

ordinary legislative procedure
the EP is required to act by an absolute majority if it is to either amend or reject proposed legislation.


Finland

According to
Finnish LawThe law of Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland , ), officially the Republic of Finland (, ), is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and ...
, when a new legislative proposal would in some way add, alter or remove a part of the Finnish constitution, a bill requires a 2/3 majority in the
Parliament of Finland The Parliament of Finland ( ; ) is the Unicameralism, unicameral and Parliamentary sovereignty, supreme legislature of Finland, founded on 9 May 1906. In accordance with the Constitution of Finland, sovereignty belongs to the people, and tha ...

Parliament of Finland
. In other words, a legislative proposal that would modify, add or remove a part of the Finnish Constitution requires at least the approval of 134 out of 200 representatives in the
Parliament of Finland The Parliament of Finland ( ; ) is the Unicameralism, unicameral and Parliamentary sovereignty, supreme legislature of Finland, founded on 9 May 1906. In accordance with the Constitution of Finland, sovereignty belongs to the people, and tha ...

Parliament of Finland


India

Article 368 of the
Indian Constitution The Constitution of India ( IAST: ) is the supreme law of India. The document lays down the framework that demarcates fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental ri ...

Indian Constitution
requires a supermajority of two-thirds of members present and voting in each house of the
Indian Parliament The Parliament of India (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scien ...
, subject to at least by a majority of the total membership of each House of Parliament, to amend the constitution. In addition, in matters affecting the states and judiciary, at least above half of all the states need to ratify the amendment.


International agreements

The
Rome Statute The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute) is the treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international l ...
requires a seven-eighths majority of participating states to be amended.


Italy

The
President of Italy The president of Italy, officially denoted as President of the Italian Republic ( it, Presidente della Repubblica Italiana) is the head of state of Italy. In that role, the officeholder represents national unity, guarantees that Politics of Ita ...
is elected by an electoral college consisting of both chambers of
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...
sitting in
joint session A joint session or joint convention is, most broadly, when two normally separate decision-making groups meet together, often in a special session or other extraordinary meeting, for a specific purpose. Most often it refers to when both houses of ...
with 58 electors from the . In the first three rounds of voting, a candidate must get two-thirds of the votes to win, but from the fourth round onwards only a simple majority is needed. Even reforms to the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

Constitution
need to achieve a supermajority of two-thirds of the votes both in the Chamber and in the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
to avoid the possibility of being sent to popular vote in order to be confirmed through a referendum.


Japan

Amendments to the
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
require a two-thirds majority in both houses of the
National Diet The is Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Go ...

National Diet
and a simple majority in a referendum.


New Zealand

Section 268 of the Electoral Act sets out a number of 'reserved provisions'. These provisions include section 17(1) of the
Constitution Act 1986 The Constitution Act 1986 is an Act of the New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 7 ...
(regarding
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...
's term length), section 35 of the Electoral Act (regarding the drawing of electoral boundaries), and section 74 of the Electoral Act (designating 18 as the minimum voting age). For a 'reserved provision' to be amended or repealed, a three-quarters majority is required in the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
or a majority is needed in a national
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
.


Nigeria

Under the
Constitution of Nigeria The Constitution of Nigeria is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or organisation ( Com ...
a two-thirds majority is required in the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliam ...
to alter the Constitution, enact legislation in a few areas, or remove office holders from some positions, such a Speaker. Legislative override or impeachment of the executive at either the state or federal government level also requires a two-thirds majority of the corresponding legislative assembly.


Philippines

Under the 1987
Constitution of the Philippines The Constitution of the Philippines (Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng ...
, a two-thirds majority of both chambers of the
Congress of the Philippines The Congress of the Philippines ( fil, Kongreso ng Pilipinas) is the Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the Philippines. It consists of the Senate of the Philippines, Senate (upper house) and the House of Representatives of the Philippines, ...
(the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
and the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
) meeting in
joint session A joint session or joint convention is, most broadly, when two normally separate decision-making groups meet together, often in a special session or other extraordinary meeting, for a specific purpose. Most often it refers to when both houses of ...
is required to
declare war ''Declare'' ( 2000) is a supernatural spy novel by American author Tim Powers. The novel presents a secret history of the Cold War, and earned several major fantasy fiction awards. Plot summary The non-linear plot, shifting back and forth in time ...
.1987 Constitution of the Philippines
''Official Gazette''.
A two-thirds majority of both chambers is required to override a presidential
veto A veto (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...
. A two-thirds vote of both chambers of Congress voting separately is required to designate the
vice president A vice president, also director in British English, is an officer An officer is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously apply ...
as
acting president An acting president is a person who temporarily fills the role of a country's president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, univer ...
in the event that a majority of the Cabinet certifies that the president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" but the president declares that no such inability exists. A two-thirds vote of either chamber is required to suspend or expel a member from that chamber. Under the 1987 Constitution, "The Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, call a constitutional convention, or by a majority vote of all its Members, submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention." A three-quarters vote of all the members of the Congress is required to propose an amendment to the Constitution; the proposed amendment is submitted to the people for ratification (by a majority of the votes cast) in a
plebiscite A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
. A two-thirds majority of the Senate is required to ratify treaties, and to remove an
impeached Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual ...
official from office. Impeachment by the House, which is the required first step in the removal process, only requires one-third of Representatives to sign a petition (specifically a verified complaint or resolution of impeachment).


Singapore

Different amendment procedures apply to different parts of the Constitution. Most of the Articles of the Constitution may be amended by a bill enacted by Parliament if there is at least a supermajority of two-thirds of all elected MPs voting in favour of the bill during its Second and Third Readings in Parliament.Constitution, Art. 5(2). Since ordinary bills only need to be approved by at least a simple majority of all the MPs present and voting, the supermajority requirement is more rigorous and gives the Constitution its rigid characteristic. However, the present ruling party, the
People's Action Party The People's Action Party (abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known a ...
("PAP") has commanded a majority of more than two-thirds of the seats in Parliament since 1968. In addition, due to the presence of the
party whip A whip is an official of a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about politics, and parti ...
, all PAP MPs must vote in accordance with the party line save where the whip is lifted, usually for matters of conscience. Thus, in substance the more stringent amendment requirement has not imposed any real limitation on Parliament's ability to amend the Constitution.Neo & Lee, p. 165.


South Korea

A three-fifths majority of legislators is required for a bill to be put to a vote in the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliam ...
to prevent the ruling party from passing laws without the support of opposition parties.


Spain


Constitutional reform

The 1978 Constitution states that a three-fifths majority in both
Congress of Deputies The Congress of Deputies ( es, link=no, Congreso de los Diputados) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chamb ...

Congress of Deputies
and
Senate of Spain The Senate ( es, Senado) is the upper house of the Cortes Generales, which along with the Congress of Deputies – the Lower house, lower chamber – comprises the Parliament of the Kingdom of Spain. The Senate meets in the Palacio del Senado, Pal ...
is needed to pass a constitutional reform, but if a two-thirds majority is reached in the Congress of Deputies, an
absolute majority A supermajority, supra-majority, qualified majority, or special majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for a majority. Supermajority rules in ...
of senators is enough to pass the proposal. Nevertheless, when a new Constitution is proposed or the proposal's goal is to reform the Preliminary Title, the Chapter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms or the Title on the Crown, the supermajority becomes significantly harder: * A supermajority of two-thirds must be reached in both Congress of Deputies and Senate. * Both chambers must be dissolved. * The new elected chambers must approve the proposal by a new two-thirds supermajority. * Finally, the proposal is passed by
majority A majority, also called a simple majority to distinguish it from similar terms (see the "Related terms" section below), is the greater part, or more than half, of the total.See dictionary definitions of "majority" aMerriam-Webster
in
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
. The first way has been used twice (1992 and 2011), but the second has never been used.


Other legal procedures

The Spanish Constitution states other supermajorities: * Members of the
General Council of the Judiciary The General Council of the Judiciary (GCJ) ( es, Consejo General del Poder Judicial, (CGPJ) is the national council of the judiciary of Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España ...
are appointed by the Congress of Deputies and Senate of Spain, and each appointment needs a three-fifths majority. * Members of the
Constitutional Court A constitutional court is a high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Ad ...
are also appointed by both Congress of Deputies and Senate of Spain, and each appointment needs a three-fifths majority. * The president of the
RTVE The Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española, S.A. (; ), known as Radiotelevisión Española or RTVE, is the state-owned public corporation that assumed in 2007 the indirect management of the Spain, Spanish public radio and television servi ...
, the public radio and television broadcaster, must be elected by two-thirds majority of the Congress of Deputies.


Autonomous communities

Each Spanish
autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Spanish constitution of 1978, with the ...

autonomous community
has its own
Statute of Autonomy Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy ( es, Estatuto de Autonomía, ca, Estatut d'Autonomia, gl, Estatuto de Autonomía, ast, Estatutu d' Autonomía, eu, Autonomia Estatutua) is a law hierarchically located under the constitution A constitutio ...
, working like a local constitution that is subject to the 1978 Constitution and national powers. The Statute of Autonomy of the Canary Islands states that its economic and fiscal regime and electoral law need a two-thirds majority of the Parliament to be modified. On its behalf, the
Ombudsman An ombudsman (, also , ), ombudsperson, ombud, ombuds, or public advocate is an official who is usually appointed by the government or by parliament but with a significant degree of independence. In some countries, an inspector general, citize ...
needs a three-fifths majority to be appointed. Also, if a two-thirds majority votes against a law project, it must be proposed to the following session.


Taiwan

Before the
Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China The Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China are the revisions and constitutional amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of China, original constitution to meet the requisites of the nation and the political stat ...
in 2005, the constitution amendments need to be passed by the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliam ...
. Since the Additional Articles ratified on June 7, 2005, the National Assembly was abolished. Amendments of the constitution need to be proposed by more than one-quarter of members of the Legislative Yuan, passed by three-quarters of those present in the meeting, the presence of which must surpass three-quarters of all members of Legislative Yuan, then followed by approval by more than half (50%) of all eligible voters in
referendums A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal and can have nationwide or local forms. This may result in the adoption of a ...
.


United Kingdom

The
United Kingdom House of Commons The House of Commons (domestically known as the Commons) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in ...

United Kingdom House of Commons
can be dissolved and an election held before the expiry of its 5-year term by a vote of two-thirds of the membership of the House of Commons since 2011 under the
Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (c. 14) (FTPA) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make ...
. This is the only supermajority required in the
British Constitution The Constitution of the United Kingdom or British constitution comprises the written and unwritten arrangements that establish the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irel ...
. However, Parliament can also be dissolved if the House of Commons passes a motion of no-confidence in the government and no new government wins a motion of confidence within two weeks of the original vote of no-confidence. A government with a majority that wanted to bypass the requirement for a two-thirds vote could pass an act that stated, " Notwithstanding the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, a general election will be called on DATE", as was done for the election in 2019. It could also repeal the act with a simple majority as well.


United Nations

The
United Nations Security Council The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed ...

United Nations Security Council
requires a supermajority of the fixed membership on substantive matters (procedural matters require a simple majority of those present and voting). According to Article 27 of the
United Nations Charter The Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) is the foundational treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public internation ...

United Nations Charter
, at least nine of the Security Council's 15 members (i.e., a three-fifths supermajority) must vote in favor of a draft
resolution Resolution(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Resolution (debate), the statement which is debated in policy debate * Resolution (law), a written motion adopted by a deliberative body * New Year's resolution, a commitment that an individual make ...
in order to achieve passage. Specifying the fixed membership has the effect of making abstentions count as votes against—absences are not normal but would be treated the same way. This is useful for the five permanent members of the council (
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, the
Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
) because a vote against from any one of them constitutes a
veto A veto (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...
, which cannot be overridden. Permanent members who do not support a measure, but are unwilling to be seen to block it against the wishes of the majority of the council, tend to abstain; abstentions by veto powers are generally seen by close observers of the UN as the equivalent of not vetoing votes against and have the same impact on the decision of the Security Council.


United States


Federal government

The
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
requires supermajorities in order for certain significant actions to occur.
Amendments A constitutional amendment is a modification of the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or or ...

Amendments
to the Constitution may be proposed in one of two ways: a two-thirds supermajority votes of each house of
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, t ...

United States Congress
or a
convention Convention may refer to: * Convention (norm), a custom or tradition, a standard of presentation or conduct ** Treaty, an agreement in international law * Convention (meeting), meeting of a (usually large) group of individuals and/or companies in a ...
called by Congress on application of two-thirds (currently 34) of the states. Once proposed, the amendment must be ratified by three-quarters (currently 38) of the states (either through the state legislatures, or ratification conventions, whichever "mode of ratification" Congress selects). Congress may pass bills by simple majority votes. If the
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

president
a bill, Congress may override the veto by a two-thirds supermajority of both houses. A treaty must be ratified by a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate to enter into force and effect. Section 4 of the
Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution The Twenty-fifth Amendment (Amendment XXV) to the United States Constitution deals with President of the United States, presidential succession and disability. It clarifies that the Vice President of the United States, vice president becomes Pre ...
gives Congress a role to play in the event of a presidential disability. If the vice president and a majority of the president's cabinet declare that the president is unable to serve in that role, the vice president becomes acting president. Within 21 days of such a declaration (or, if Congress is in recess when a president is disabled, 21 days after Congress reconvenes), Congress must vote by two-thirds supermajorities to continue the disability declaration; otherwise, such declaration expires after the 21 days and the president would at that time "resume" discharging all the powers and duties of the office. As of 2021, Section 4 has never been invoked. The House may, by a simple majority vote,
impeach Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official for misconduct. Impeachment may be understood as a unique process involving both political Politics ...
a federal official (such as, but not limited to, the president, vice president, or a federal judge). Removal from office (and optional disqualification from any federal, state or local office) requires a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate. In 1842, the House failed to impeach president
John Tyler John Tyler (March 29, 1790January 18, 1862) was the 10th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona ( ...

John Tyler
. In 1868, the Senate fell one vote short of removing president
Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of the pre ...

Andrew Johnson
following his
impeachment Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
. In 1999, efforts to remove
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
following his impeachment in 1998 fell just short of a simple majority, and 17 votes short of the two-thirds supermajority. The impeachment procedure was last used in 2021, when former president
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective reci ...

Donald Trump
was
impeached Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual ...
for a second time and subsequently acquitted. Each chamber may expel one of its own members by a two-thirds supermajority vote; this last happened when the House expelled
James Traficant James Anthony Traficant Jr. (May 8, 1941 – September 27, 2014) was a Democratic, and later independent, politician and member of the United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the lower house ...

James Traficant
in 2002. The 14th Amendment (section 3) bars a person from federal or state office if, after having previously taken an as a federal or state officer, "''shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof''". However, both the House and Senate may jointly override this restriction with a two-thirds supermajority vote each. A two-thirds supermajority in the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
is 67 out of 100 senators, while a two-thirds supermajority in the House is 290 out of 435 representatives. However, since many votes take place without every seat in the House filled and representative participating, it does not often require 67 senators or 290 representatives to achieve this supermajority. Apart from these constitutional requirements, (except in cases covered by the
nuclear option In the United States Senate, the nuclear option is a parliamentary procedure that allows the Senate to override a standing rule by a simple majority, rather than the two-thirds supermajority normally required to amend Senate rules. The nucl ...
, or of a rule change) requires an absolute supermajority of three-fifths to move to a vote through a
cloture Cloture (, also ), closure or, informally, a guillotine, is a motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position (mathematics), posi ...

cloture
motion, which closes debate on a bill or nomination, thus ending a
filibuster A filibuster is a political procedure where one or more members of a Congress or Parliament debate over a proposed piece of legislation so as to delay a decision being made on the proposal or entirely prevent such a decision from occurring. It is ...
by a minority of members. In current practice, the mere threat of a filibuster prevents passing almost any measure that has less than three-fifths agreement in the Senate, 60 of the 100 senators if every seat is filled.


State government

For state legislatures in the United States, ''
Mason's Manual 125px, Mason's Manual 2000 ''Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure'', commonly referred to as ''Mason's Manual'', is the official parliamentary authority of most State legislature (United States), state legislatures in the United States. This 7 ...
'' says, "A deliberative body cannot by its own act or rule require a two-thirds vote to take any action where the constitution or controlling authority requires only a majority vote. To require a two-thirds vote, for example, to take any action would be to give to any number more than one-third of the members the power to defeat the action and amount to a delegation of the powers of the body to a minority." Some states require a supermajority for passage of a constitutional amendment or statutory initiative. Many state constitutions allow or require amendments to their own constitutions to be proposed by supermajorities of the state legislature; these amendments must usually be approved by the voters at one or more subsequent elections. Michigan, for instance, allows the Legislature to propose an amendment to the Michigan Constitution; it must then be ratified by the voters at the next general election (unless a special election is called). In most states, the state legislature may override a
governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...
's veto of legislation. In most states, a two-thirds supermajority of both chambers is required. However, in some states (e.g.,
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspape ...

Illinois
,
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware ...

Maryland
and
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
), only a three-fifths supermajority is required, while in Kentucky and West Virginia only a normal majority is needed. One common provision of so-called "
taxpayer bill of rights The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (abbreviated TABOR) is a concept advocated by conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may ...
" laws (either in state statutes or state constitutions) is requirement of a supermajority vote in the state legislature to increase taxes. The
National Conference of State Legislatures The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), established in 1975, is a "nonpartisan public officials’ association composed of sitting state legislators" from the states, territories and commonwealths of the United States. Background ...
reported in 2010 that fifteen states required a supermajority vote (either a three-fifths, two-thirds or three-quarters majority vote in both chambers) to pass some or all tax increases. Supermajority requirements for tax increases have been criticized as "deeply flawed" by a report by the
progressive Progressive may refer to: Politics * Progressivism is a political philosophy in support of social reform Political organizations * Congressional Progressive Caucus, members within the Democratic Party in the United States Congress dedicated to th ...
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) is a progressive American think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment founded for doing res ...
because such requirements empower a minority of legislators, making it difficult to close tax loopholes or fund transportation
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An ec ...

infrastructure
, and also may encourage
pork-barrel ''Pork barrel'', or simply ''pork'', is a metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rheto ...
spending as a trade-off to ensure passage of a tax increase (see
logrolling Logrolling is the trading of favors, or ''quid pro quo Quid pro quo ("something for something" in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origi ...
).


See also

*
Consensus decision-making Consensus decision-making or consensus politics (often abbreviated to ''consensus'') is group decision-makingGroup decision-making (also known as collaborative decision-making or collective decision-making) is a situation faced when individu ...
*
Double majority A double majority is a voting system which requires a majority of votes according to two separate criteria. The mechanism is usually used to require strong support for any measure considered to be of great importance. Typically in legislative bodi ...
*
Group decision-makingGroup decision-making (also known as collaborative decision-making or collective decision-making) is a situation faced when individuals An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity. Individuality (or self-hood) is the state or quality of ...
*
Minoritarianism In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisi ...
*
Unanimity Unanimity is agreement by all people in a given situation. Groups may consider unanimous decisions as a sign of e.g. social, political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in ...
*
Voting in the Council of the European Union The procedures for voting in the Council of the European Union are described in the treaties of the European Union. The Council of the European Union The Council of the European Union, often referred to in the treaties and other official ...
—described the "qualified majority voting" requirement in that body


References

{{Parliamentary procedure Elections Voting theory Majority Power sharing de:Mehrheit#Qualifizierte Mehrheit