Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 15:48 UK

Before a General Election, Parliament is dissolved by Royal Proclamation.

Dissolution is granted by the monarch at the request of the prime minister.

Under the Parliament Act of 1911, the maximum length of a Parliament is five years but the prime minister may call a General Election before this date and will seek to choose a time most likely to result in victory for his or her party.

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