UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap general election for 8 June, taking the country by surprise.
The previous election was in 2015, so another was not due until 2020.
Ms May pledged several times after taking office last year not to call an early election, so this is something of a U-turn.
Why the U-turn?
The prime minister wants a strong mandate in parliament going into what are likely to be fraught negotiations with Europe over Britain’s exit from the EU.
Her Conservative party has a relatively slim majority in the House of Commons, won in 2015 under the previous leader David Cameron. But since that election the main opposition Labour party has collapsed in the polls, leaving her in a much stronger position and making an election win significantly more likely.
A victory in June would also hand her a very important personal mandate. Having taken over from Mr Cameron when he resigned mid-term, after losing the Brexit referendum, she has yet to win her own general election.