Gone are the days when General Elections were nothing more than a two-way battle between the Conservatives and Labour. With marginal parties like the SNP and the Greens taking more and more seats away from the two big players, we have moved into an era of coalition agreements.
It happened in 2010, and it will almost certainly happen again tomorrow – no party is likely to win an overall majority of support from voters, leading to a hung parliament.
What happens next will depend on who wants to work with who, but the party with the most seats will get to hold conversations with the marginal parties first.
Here's City A.M.'s guide on how to assemble a coalition, taking you from the initial announcement of results through to the first official session in parliament.
A beginner's guide:
How to assemble a coalition
No one manages to win an overall majority and a “hung parliament” is announced. The party with the most seats
must look around for support if it wants to take power.
Each party has its own ideas about how the country should be run, so who to form a coalition with is a tricky decision. Initial conversations begin.
Once two or more parties have tentatively agreed to join forces, in come the civil servants to get proper negotiations under way.
The party leaders come face-to-face and make some tough calls – what will their long-term plans be? What policies will they compromise on?
Once they have come to a firm agreement, the Queen will call on the main party leader to become Prime Minister and officially form a new government.
Over at Number 10, the Prime Minister publicly announces the party's plan to form a coalition and appoints a deputy Prime Minister.
The key team is drawn up, comprising members from each party.
A coalition agreement is published, specifying the terms of the deal.
Everything properly kicks off at the state opening of parliament, when the coalition goes through its first parliamentary session.