I live in Canada, which used to have, inspired by the British system, federal elections every 5 years, plus the possibility of snap elections. It was actually reformed to every 4 years, fixed.
My question is: what democratic benefits, if any, does a system which provides for the possibility of snap elections provide? Aside from following tradition and the difficulty of pushing through electoral reforms.
Obviously, there is a benefit for the governing party to put in an election while it believes it is advantageous (this can backfire, as in Theresa May's post-referendum gambit). Or it may call one to renew its mandate before an embarrassing event like a corruption report. All sorts of reasons, but none of them seem to benefit voters as a whole. This, to me, seems like it brings in temptation to gaming the system.
Adds to drawbacks the extra logistical difficulty of arranging elections at potentially random intervals.
Not having incumbent-triggered snap elections should, of course, not be taken to foregoing other mechanisms which can trigger an election. For example, incapacitation/death or a loss of confidence vote in a legislative assembly can trigger new elections. But this is not decided by the government (except for a resignation which precludes a return by the incumbent).
Quoting from wiki's article about Canadian reform:
Harper stated that "fixed election dates prevent governments from calling snap elections for short-term political advantage. They level the playing field for all parties and the rules are clear for everybody."
Regardless of who said it, the above summarizes pretty well how I feel about snap elections, but I wonder if there are benefits I am unaware of.