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What is a general election?

General elections are held in the UK every five years. The result of a general election decides who gets to form a government and run the country.

The UK is divided up into 650 sections, called constituencies. Each constituency is represented by an MP, which stands for Member of Parliament.

In a general election, the people who live in each constituency vote for who they want their MP to be.

Each political party can put forward a candidate to stand for election as an MP in a constituency. Candidates don’t have to represent a party to stand for election. Those who don’t are called independents.

General elections use a voting system called First Past The Post. This means that the candidate who gets the most votes is elected as the MP for their constituency.

The political party which ends up with the most MPs after each constituency has voted usually ends up forming a government.

If that party only has slightly more MPs than its rivals, then a coalition government may be formed.

General elections are not to be confused with local elections or European elections.

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