By-election

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A by-election or bye-election is a type of special election.

A General Election is the name of an election for all members of an elected body. A by-election is the name of an election for just some members.

A by-election could be needed if a member dies or resigns while in political office. They are also used if a person is removed from office for some reason, for example he/she is guilty of a crime or is not qualified to be a member anymore.

In the 1980s all 12 of the Unionist MPs in the British House of Commons resigned and all of the elections happened on the same day. Although unusual, these were still only by-elections.