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:
“It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath been done before, may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.”
—Jonathan Swift (16671745)
“What a glorious time they must have in that wilderness, far from mankind and election day!”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)