Who will you be voting for?

It's just days away and this general election promises to be the closest since 1992. The TV debates have certainly ignited public interest, turning a two horse race into a real battle between all three main parties. All possible outcomes are being discussed with pundits carefully scrutinising the latest polls. The whole process can be a bit confusing so here is a breakdown of the essential facts for the general election 2010.

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On Thursday May 6th the country will go to the polls to elect a government. If you are over 18 and on the electoral roll you will be eligible to vote in the general election. There are more than 45 million people currently eligible and the winner of the election will need to have enough Members of Parliament elected to form a government. They will need to have more MPs than all the other parties combined. With the polls pointing to a close run race this could be difficult to achieve. If no single party manages to win outright then there could be a "hung parliament".

If this happens you could find parties making deals and joining forces when it comes to introducing new legislation. Without one party having enough MPs to have an absolute majority there is a possibility of two or more parties forming a coalition to get their policies made into law. The last election to return a hung parliament was in 1974.

In order to gain a majority the winning party will have to gain 326 seats, this is because there are 650 seats available in total. For Labour to lose its overall majority it needs to lose 24 seats. The Conservatives will have to gain 116 seats to gain an overall majority.

Many other countries have hung parliaments all the time. This is because they have proportional representation rather than the British system of first past the post. It is possible to poll a large number of votes in the UK without having gaining any seats in Parliament. This is why some people, especially the smaller parties, are calling for electoral reform.

When all the votes have been counted and the winner has been declared then the Queen will ask the leader of the winning to form a Government. The party with the second highest number of seats forms the opposition and shadow cabinet

This could be the tightest election for decades and every vote counts. So, be prepared for a long and exciting night on Thursday 6th May.