Two-thirds majority

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A two-thirds majority is a qualified majority with a quorum of two-thirds for votes . Depending on the basic amount of the calculation, one speaks of a simple two-thirds majority if the votes cast are taken as a basis, or of an absolute two-thirds majority if the total number of votes (including abstentions ) or those entitled to vote is considered.

In many, especially the democratic states, this quorum plays a special role when it comes to adopting a constitutional amendment . This is intended to guarantee the protection of minorities , since a constitutional amendment can be prevented with more than a third of the votes. In contrast, simple laws are usually passed with majorities that can be achieved with a lower approval rate.


Federal level

Simple two-thirds majority

At the German federal level , the Basic Law (GG) requires a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, but at least a majority of the members, in the following articles :

Absolute two-thirds majority

The Basic Law requires a two-thirds majority of the members in the following articles:

State level

At the state level , two-thirds of the MPs regularly have to agree to amend the respective state constitution .


"Resolutions of the state parliament to amend the constitution require a two-thirds majority of the number of members. They must be submitted to the people for a decision. "

In the state elections in Bavaria in 2003 , the CSU won less than two thirds of the votes cast with 60.7%. However, the opposition parties represented in the state parliament together achieved less than half of the CSU vote with 27.1%, namely the SPD 19.6% and Alliance 90 / The Greens : 7.5%. Such a two-thirds majority of the mandates can of course be won everywhere, at least in every election with a threshold clause, even without a two-thirds majority of the votes.


In the Hamburg mayor elections in 1946 , the SPD achieved 83 of the 110 mandates and thus even a three-quarters majority in the Hamburg citizenry with 43.1% of the votes under the then applicable electoral law .


The Federal Constitutional Act (B-VG) requires a simple two-thirds majority in the presence of at least half of the members of the National Council in matters that

Furthermore, a two-thirds majority and the quorum of attendance are required if the National Council wishes to convene the Federal Assembly ( Art. 60, Para. 6 B-VG, Art. 68, Para. 3 B-VG).

In addition, the Federal Constitutional Act stipulates that the state constitutional laws may only be changed by the state parliaments with a two-thirds majority ( Art. 99, Paragraph 2 B-VG). If the Federal Chancellor wishes to dissolve a Landtag, the Federal President may only do so with the corresponding consent of the Bundesrat, whereby the members from the Land concerned are not entitled to vote ( Art. 100 Para. 1 B-VG).

In addition, the main committee of the National Council decides ordinances on control measures to ensure undisturbed production or the supply of the population and other users with important economic and consumer goods according to the above-mentioned criterion ( Art. 55 Par. 5 B-VG).


In Switzerland, two-thirds majorities play a subordinate role: the Federal Constitution nowhere provides for a two-thirds majority, since all major resolutions are sanctioned by mandatory or optional referendums . In the case of votes on constitutional questions, the majority of the cantons is required in addition to the popular majority . Two-thirds majorities are sometimes prescribed in federal legislation within parliamentary investigative commissions and the collegiate courts, but also in the private law area, for example for changes to the statutes of corporations (particularly in stock corporations ) and the like. Two-thirds majorities occasionally occur at the cantonal level . According to a recently passed regulation in the canton of Aargau , laws are no longer subject to a referendum if they were passed by a two-thirds majority in parliament - this in order to avoid idling with undisputed proposals, as traditionally all laws had to be submitted to a referendum.

United States

According to the US Federal Constitution , two-thirds majorities apply in the following cases:

  • art. I, sect. 3, par. 6: Senate : Impeachment conviction - (impeachment) proceedings: two-thirds of all senators (Rare; last significant application: evaluation of former President Bill Clinton . However, the required majority was not achieved. The Senate acts as a jury in such cases.)
  • art. I, sect. 7, parr. 2 + 3: House of Representatives and Senate: Overriding a presidential veto : two-thirds of all members in each of the two houses (most important application of the two-thirds majority in the USA).
  • art. V: House of Representatives, Senate, possibly parliaments of states : two-thirds majority of suggesting Constitution additives rare (amend ments) (relatively: since 1787 treated more than 3,000 amendments, it accepted only a few dozen, ratified and entered into force today only 27th )
  • amendment 14, sect. 3 : House of Representatives, Senate: two-thirds majority in both houses to revoke ineligibility due to an uprising against the USA (Of historical interest: Introduced in order to be able to reintegrate former officials from the Confederate States of America ; since there has been no uprising against the USA since came, this regulation is meaningless today.)
  • amendment 25, sect. 4 : House of Representatives, Senate: two-thirds majority in both houses to declare the President's incapacity for office (never used before)

Holy See

The two-thirds majority also plays a role in the Roman Catholic Church : the Pope is always elected by the conclave with a two-thirds majority. A change by Pope John Paul II was made by his successor Benedict XVI. undone.


In Malaysia , the United Malays National Organization ( UMNO for short , in Malay Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu) ruled the party alliance Barisan Nasional ("National Front") with a two-thirds majority since 1957 .

East Timor

In East Timor , a two-thirds majority in the national parliament can change the constitution and remove the president .


In Japan , the House of Commons can enforce laws rejected by the House of Lords with a two-thirds majority. Conversely, this is not possible for the House of Lords. In Japan's post-war history, this rule was applied only once before 2008, namely in 1951 to pass a law on betting on motorboat races. With the different majorities in both houses ( Nejire Kokkai ) , several laws were passed in 2008 with a two-thirds majority.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: two-thirds majority  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Christian Pestalozza , in: Constitutions of the German Federal States, 7th edition, Verlag CH Beck , Munich 2001, introduction, marginal no. 42.
  2. Art. 75 para. 2 Constitution of the Free State of Bavaria in the version published on December 15, 1998, accessed on November 14, 2016.
  3. ↑ Election of the Pope on
  4. Constitution of East Timor (English)