Recently, the main Romanian party in power had another internal issue when some important persons asked its leader to resign via an open letter:

Top politicians in Romania’s ruling Social Democrats (PSD) have called on the party leader to step down over criminal corruption convictions and party-related violations.

I cannot find an English transcript of the letter, but one of the many reasons behind asking him to step down was that he has a much lower popularity than party popularity.

I have also heard political analysts arguing that a high discrepancy between leader popularity (significantly lower) and party popularity is a strong reason for the leader to step down (the expression used is that the leader should be like a locomotive for the party, not the other way around) either nicely or by force.

I am wondering if such reasoning is used in Western democracies.

Question: Is a low popularity of a political party leader typically used as a reason for asking to resign?

  • In Britain no one normally resigns unless they are forced, either by a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons, or by the constitutional procedure of their political party. However a party leader who has been defeated e.g. in a General Election may voluntarily resign e.g. Neil Kinnock 1992. – WS2 Oct 4 '18 at 7:50
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    @Alexei A very good example is that of Margaret Thatcher, a Prime Minister undefeated at the polls, the winner of three general elections, who was forced out by a ballot of her party members. But she certainly did not resign voluntarily. – WS2 Oct 4 '18 at 8:47
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    @WS2 - you can provide an answer based on this article. The fact that she did not resign voluntarily is irrelevant for my question. – Alexei Oct 4 '18 at 8:52
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    FWIW, there isn't a uniform answer across Western democracies. For example, the U.S. differs in norms on this question from systems with a parliamentary system where MPs elect a Prime Minister. – ohwilleke Oct 4 '18 at 21:30
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    This pretty much what happened to John Boehner in 2015. There had been a previous election to remove him, but it didn't pass. By the time a major spending bill, Boehner's polling numbers among Republican voters had fallen to 40% approval rating. He resigned from political office at the end of October of that year, and his role as Speaker of the House was followed up by Paul Ryan. – hszmv Oct 5 '18 at 18:23

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