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:
“We have wasted our spirit in the regions of the abstract and general just as the monks let it wither in the world of prayer and contemplation.”
—Alexander Herzen (18121870)
“In the past, as now, Haitis curse has been her politicians. There are still too many men of influence in the country who believe that a national election is a mandate from the people to build themselves a big new house in Petionville and Kenscoff and a trip to Paris.”
—Zora Neale Hurston (18911960)