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Monday, September 20, 2004

Snap elections

Gary asks: "Snap elections. I have heard this before. How can "snap election" be called?"

In answer, remember that snap elections are just the same as ordinary elections. They get their moniker because of the perceived as taking advantage of some (possibly temporary) electoral advantage. Since it is an ordinary election the procedure is no different - the Prime Minister informs the Queen and she duly dissolves Parliament. It might catch the opponents by surprise - and that could be a perceived reason to call one.

The 1987 election is probably the best modern example that I know off. 1986 had been a bad year for the Thatcher government, particularly the Westland affair - which had seriously threatened her leadership. However, in May 1987 the local elections results were very favourable, so Maggie called an election for June 11 of that year. The result was another 100+ seat majority.

I hope that makes things clearer.

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