Definitions

Resignation

Resignation

[rez-ig-ney-shuhn]
A resignation is the formal act of giving up or quitting one's office or position. It can also refer to the act of admitting defeat in a game like chess, indicated by the resigning player declaring "I resign", turning his king on its side, extending his hand, or stopping the chess clock. A resignation can occur when a person holding a position gained by election or appointment steps down, but leaving a position upon the expiration of a term is not considered resignation. When an employee chooses to leave a position it is considered a resignation, as opposed to termination, which occurs when the employee involuntarily loses a job. Whether an employee resigned or was terminated is sometimes a topic of dispute, because in many situations a terminated employee is eligible for severance pay and/or unemployment benefits, whereas one who voluntarily resigns may not be eligible. Abdication is the equivalent of resignation of a reigning monarch or pope, or other holder of a non-political, hereditary or similar position.

A resignation is a personal decision to exit a position, though outside pressure exists in many cases. For example, Richard Nixon resigned from the office of President of the United States in 1974 following the Watergate scandal, when he was almost certain to have been impeached by the United States Congress.

Resignation can be used politically, as in the Philippines during July 2005 when ten cabinet officials resigned in order to put pressure on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to do the same over allegations of electoral fraud. Alternatively, resignation as a procedure may be used as a political manoeuvre. In 1995, the British Prime Minister, John Major, resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party in order to contest a leadership election with the aim of silencing his critics within the party and reasserting his authority. Having resigned, he stood again and was re-elected.

Although government officials may tender their resignations, they are not always accepted. This could be a gesture of confidence in the official, as with US President George W. Bush's refusal of his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's twice-offered resignation during the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. However, refusing a resignation can be a method of severe censure if it is followed by dismissal; Alberto Fujimori attempted to resign as President of Peru but his resignation was refused in order that Congress could fire him.

For many public figures, primarily departing politicians, resignation is an opportunity to deliver a valedictory resignation speech in which they can elucidate the circumstances of their exit from office and in many cases deliver a powerful speech which often commands much attention. This can be used to great political effect, particularly as, subsequent to resigning, government ministers are no longer bound by collective responsibility and can speak with greater freedom about current issues.

List of notable resignations

Prior to 2000

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

See also

Notes

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