A report by the British newspaper “The Times” tried to answer the reasons for the resignation of heads of government around the world despite their popularity.
The sudden resignation of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has raised questions about the decline in the life span of politicians in democratic countries over the past two decades, and the relationship of social media platforms to this dramatic shift.
Ardern, who assumed the ministry at the age of 37 to be the youngest prime minister of New Zealand, issued a statement announcing her inability to continue to lead the country, step down no later than early February, and would not seek re-election.
Some believe that Ardern’s resignation reflects a global trend, as it seems that the life span of political leaders has become shorter, starting from Trump’s one term in the United States to the six prime ministers in Italy in ten years, and the revolving door in Downing Street in 2022.
Even before the pandemic made the prime minister’s job more impossible than ever, we have seen prime ministers like David Cameron announce their resignation simply because he lost in the EU referendum.
Although New Zealand holds elections every three years, the last time the government held a single term was in 1972.
The Times says, “It is true that a crisis like the Corona virus occurs only once in a lifetime, and has cast a shadow over many leaders,” but she wondered what happened to political flexibility? And why do so many captains jump from their ships before their careers are over, despite the well-known rule that “electors don’t get tired of officials 10 years ago”?-
Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics and international relations at Britain’s University of Kent, believes that social media platforms and exhausting round-the-clock news cycles play a major role in the short-lived phenomenon of leaders in power.--
Before the Internet, leaders had the time to reflect on mistakes and formulate measured responses.
But “the era of hashtags forced them to be held accountable and immediately apologised, at a time when unpopular policies are being faced with calls to resign before they take effect,” according to The Times.
Goodwin said the impact of successive crises over the past two years, which saw inflation and the cost of living soaring, had made it difficult for incumbents to retain long-term supporters.
He noted that social media platforms have introduced a new dimension to our political world, and voters are changing their political views today more than ever before, as 60% of British voters changed their party affiliations during the past 10 years, meaning that we are witnessing record rates of change in our political life. .
Sir Anthony Seldon, in his book The Impossible Office: A History of Britain’s Prime Ministership, agrees with Godwin, pointing to another factor of modern life, which is the intensity of instantaneous communications that seem to require immediate responses.
“The paradox is that we expect younger prime ministers to be mentally healthy and resilient, but they leave office early,” says Seldon. It seems that the massive demands of the job have also increased.”