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A fixed-term election is an election that occurs on a set date, and cannot be changed by incumbent politicians other than through exceptional mechanisms if at all.
Fixed-term elections are common for directly-elected executive officers, such as directly-elected mayors, governors and presidents, but less common for prime ministers and parliaments in a parliamentary system of government.
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A number of countries do not provide for fixed terms for elected officials, instead stipulating the maximum length of a term, permitting elections to be held more frequently as determined by the government. Such examples include the Australian House of Representatives, the New Zealand Parliament, the Canadian Parliament or the Folketing parliament of Denmark, in each case the prime minister may advise the monarch to call an election earlier than the constitutional maximum term of the parliament. Before the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011, the United Kingdom too practiced this system.