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Last Updated: Tuesday April 05 2005 11:07 GMT

General Election set for 5 May

Tony Blair
The public will be going to the polls to choose the next UK government after Tony Blair asked the Queen for a General Election on 5 May.

Labour will be attempting to win a third term in office, after winning previous elections in 1997 and 2001.

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders have already started national tours of seats they hope to win.

A total of 646 seats are up for grabs in this election, but you can only vote if you are aged over 18.

The prime minister must ask the queen to "dissolve" parliament in order for a General Election to be held.

Mr Blair had a 20-minute meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday morning.

Lots of parties are contesting the seats, including Plaid Cymru in Wales and Scotland's SNP.

Sinn Fein, the UUP, DUP and SDLP are among the main parties in Northern Ireland.




Election 2005

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