Throughout history, there have been world leaders who resigned for reasons far less serious than the tragic Beirut Port explosion, be it due to revolutions, or over allegations of corruption, or of old age.
Here are a few notable ones:
#1 King Edward VIII
In 1936, King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom and the Dominions abdicated to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson, despite lots of disapproval. In other words, he stepped down for the love of a woman.
#2 Winston Churchill
In 1955, Churchill, who led Britain through WWII, resigned as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom because of his declining health. He was 80 years old. For reference, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun is 86.
#3 Charles de Gaulle
In 1969, Charles de Gaulle resigned as the President of France after losing a constitutional referendum.
#4 Spiro Agnew
In 1973, Spiro Agnew resigned as the Vice President of the United States as a result of a financial scandal and corruption allegations. He was convicted on charges of bribery, tax evasion, and money laundering.
#5 Richard Nixon
In 1974, facing impeachment after the Watergate scandal, he resigned as the President of the United States.
#6 Kakuei Tanaka
In 1974, he resigned as the Prime Minister of Japan over allegations of corruption.
#7 Golda Meir
In 1947, she resigned as Prime Minister amid growing unpopularity and criticism that she led the Israeli army into a war it was not prepared for. Note, in Lebanon, the Interior Minister believes that women cannot be prime ministers.
#8 Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin, who became Prime Minister of the Israeli government after Meir, resigned in the wake of a financial scandal in 1977.
#9 Margaret Thatcher
Thatcher, nicknamed the Iron Lady, surprised everyone when she resigned as the British Prime Minister in 1990 after failing to win the majority in the Conservative Party’s annual vote for the selection of a leader.
Note, in Lebanon, the Interior Minister believes that women cannot be prime ministers.
#10 Zhan Videnov
He resigned as Prime Minister of Bulgaria in 1997 amidst the country’s most severe economic crisis and protests.
#11 Sali Berisha
In 1997, he resigned as the President of Albania after the collapse of the government’s economic pyramid schemes leading to the Albanian Civil War.
#12 Eduard Shevardnadze
In 2003, he resigned as the President of Georgia as a result of the peaceful Rose Revolution.
#13 Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
The President of Bolivia resigned on October 17, 2003, amid massive protests against the government’s economic policy.
#14 Omar Karami
Karami resigned twice as the Prime Minister of Lebanon. Once in 1992 due to economic collapse leading to riots, and another time in 2005 after failing to form a new government.
#15 Horst Köhler
He resigned as President of Germany in 2020 following criticism over his controversial statements on overseas military deployment.
#16 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
He resigned as President of Tunisia in 2011 due to the Tunisian Revolution.
#17 Hosni Mubarak
He resigned as the President of Egypt in 2011 due to the Egyptian Revolution.
#18 Naoto Kan
Resigned as the Prime Minister of Japan in 2011 in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
#20 Christian Wulff
Resigned as President of Germany in 2012 while facing possible prosecution for allegations of corruption.
#21 Pál Schmitt
Resigned as President of Hungary in 2012 amid accusations of academic misconduct in which he was accused of having plagiarized his 1992 doctoral thesis.
#22 Pope Benedict XVI
He resigned as the Pope and Sovereign of the Vatican City State in 2013, citing a “lack of strength of mind and body” due to his advanced age. He was 85.