# What is the majority of 65?

In Guyana there was a vote on a motion of no-confidence. For a no-confidence motion to pass the constitution requires the "votes of the majority of all elected members of the National Assembly". The vote split 33 (ayes) to 32 (noes) in the 65 member Assembly. Does this constitute a majority, either in the general understanding of an "absolute majority" either in general use or in the particular case of the Guyanese constitution?

The Government argues that an absolute majority is "half the votes (rounded up) plus 1" and hence 34 votes are required for a majority. Is there any historical or tradition that would support this interpretation of "majority"? How many votes are required to form an absolute majority in a Parliament with 65 members?

• Possibly related: stabroeknews.com/2018/opinion/letters/12/30/… . Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 5:44
• I've been bold and completly re-written your question. I'm assuming the context is the disputed no-confidence vote in Guyana. Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 12:13
• "The Government argues that an absolute majority is "half the votes (rounded up) plus 1" and hence 34 votes are required for a majority. Is there any historical or tradition that would support this interpretation of "majority"?" Sometimes a majority is inartfully described as 50%+1 but never as "50%, rounded up, plus 1." But the intent is always to be merely more than 50%. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 4:44

An absolute majority is simply more than half.

For a body of 65, half of it is 32.5. After it’s rounded up, an absolute majority would be 33 / 65.

Should a vote require an absolute majority, no votes from the opposition will be needed.

• The "which means" clause is confusing since the two examples given may or may not be helpful depending on whether the number of votes is odd or even. "More than half" is entirely unambiguous and should not require further explanation. An equally useful equivalent is "more votes in favor than against." Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 4:22
• @phoog I concur and I’ve updated it. Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 4:24

To the proposition that an absolute majority will not require the opposition to vote, that depends on which side of the bench the motion is tabled. If from the minority side, then surely they will need cross over votes. If from the majority side, then surely they will need to avoid cross overs. In either case the votes of the opposition is crucial to the outcome.

On the issue of what is a majority of 65, this depends on what is being counted. You cannot or should never round down representation of people, because that is antipathetic with democracy. Further, the very notion that the votes of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands should be vitiated by fractional rounding up to a point where the number is just a fractional difference rather than a whole unit difference is difficult to digest.

• In regards to your first point, you’re confusing parties with votes on a particular issue. If a vote requires an absolute majority, then it doesn’t matter if anyone opposed to it votes or not. That’s irrespective of whether the vote breaks down along party lines, across party lines, or otherwise. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 20:48

33/65 is a Simple Majority not an Absolute Majority (AKA Super-Majority AKA Qualified Majority). Although it may vary from parliment to parliment, the general rule is that this occurs at 2/3rds of the vote (in your example, this would be 43 or 44 votes depending on the rounding). There are other fractions too, such as 3/5ths (39 votes) but those are more procedural.

• "Absolute majority" is not a synonym for supermajority. It can be either a synonym of simple majority, or a synonym of a majority of the membership. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 0:18