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snap election

A snap election is one called by the Prime Minister of Canada or Premier of any of the Canadian provinces and territories, long before the mandate is up.

Usually such an election is triggered by a failure of a government motion on a budgetary matter, followed by a formal non-confidence vote.

The Canadian federal election, 2005 was expected to be such a snap election in April 2005. When Paul Martin and Jack Layton made a deal to support a modified Canadian federal budget, 2005, this expectation was not wholly removed, as they lacked the votes to pass a budget and were forced to rely on three independent MPs. If it were to fail to pass, then, the government would fall.

Technically a Canadian federal general election, the permission of the Governor-General of Canada. For a provincial general election it requires Lieutenant-Governor of whatever province is involved. These are expected not to exercise discretion unless there is some other party leader who can form a government and gain the confidence of the legislature - and who does not themselves want an election. When the request to dissolve the government is granted, a writ drops.

Whether a snap election is in the public interest is often debated. Some issues respecting this include: