In a parliamentary system, a general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. The term is usually used to refer to elections held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections.
In presidential systems, the term refers to a regularly-scheduled election where both the president, and either "a class" of or all members of the national legislature are elected at the same time. A general election day may also include elections for local officials.
The term originates in the United Kingdom general elections for the House of Commons.
Famous quotes containing the words general and/or election:
“You dont want a general houseworker, do you? Or a traveling companion, quiet, refined, speaks fluent French entirely in the present tense? Or an assistant billiard-maker? Or a private librarian? Or a lady car-washer? Because if you do, I should appreciate your giving me a trial at the job. Any minute now, I am going to become one of the Great Unemployed. I am about to leave literature flat on its face. I dont want to review books any more. It cuts in too much on my reading.”
—Dorothy Parker (18931967)
“The election makes me think of a story of a man who was dying. He had only two minutes to live, so he sent for a clergyman and asked him, Where is the best place to go to? He was undecided about it. So the minister told him that each place had its advantagesheaven for climate, and hell for society.”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)