General election

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A general election is an election where all the seats in a parliament or legislature are contested.

United Kingdom

In the UK general elections are usually held at intervals of no more than five years, and all seats in the House of Commons are contested. As the party which has the majority in the House of Commons forms the government, a general election can also result in a change of government and Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has the power to call a general election, which gives the incumbent government an advantage. If the Prime Minister believes his party is likely to win, he will often call a general election after only four years, as happened in 1983, 1987, 2001 and 2005.