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:
“The most general deficiency in our sort of culture and education is gradually dawning on me: no one learns, no one strives towards, no one teachesenduring loneliness.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“He hung out of the window a long while looking up and down the street. The worlds second metropolis. In the brick houses and the dingy lamplight and the voices of a group of boys kidding and quarreling on the steps of a house opposite, in the regular firm tread of a policeman, he felt a marching like soldiers, like a sidewheeler going up the Hudson under the Palisades, like an election parade, through long streets towards something tall white full of colonnades and stately. Metropolis.”
—John Dos Passos (18961970)