for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Fact check: list of governments resigning includes inaccuracies, false conspiracy link 

Social media users have been sharing an image online that lists 18 different claims about world governments resigning and ends with: “None of this has been reported on mainstream media. Why?” This list includes a mixture of true and false information.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Example posts can be seen  here  ,  here  and  here  .

The claims have a strong conspiracy theory implication, with one post’s description reading: “In case you’ve been wondering if something is going on in the world - it is!!!”

Some iterations of the list include a screenshot of additional text from a post which reads: “If EVER someone tells you, things aren’t happening. Show them this. It’s easier to see things are happening when we take a quick glance at the past. Why would governments all around the world be resigning?”

GOVERNMENTS RESIGNING

The writer claims that the governments of Italy, Poland, Russia, Kuwait, Netherlands and Malaysia have resigned or “stood down”. The post also claims that “the Dutch government” has resigned, although the Netherlands is already listed.

It is unclear what the post means by “governments resigned” or “stood down” but presumably a change in power or dissolution in ruling governments. What took place in the countries listed requires further context.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte did hand in his resignation on Jan. 26, 2021 in hope of putting together a new coalition and rebuilding a parliamentary majority. Conte lost his absolute majority in the upper house Senate last week when a junior partner, the Italia Viva party headed by former premier Matteo Renzi, quit in a row over the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and economic recession (here).

In Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced a reshuffle of his party’s government in September 2020 (here). Poland’s health minister resigned in August 2020 after criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus and scandals surrounding purchases of ventilators and masks (here), and the foreign minister resigned two days later (here ).

Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a sweeping shake-up of the political system, which led to the resignation of his ally Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister along with the entire government on Jan. 13, 2021 ( here  , here ).

Kuwait’s emir reappointed Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah as prime minister on Jan. 24, 2021 after the cabinet resigned the previous week in a standoff with parliament over its vote to question the premier on issues including his choice of ministers (here).

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government resigned on Jan. 15, 2021, accepting responsibility for wrongful accusations of fraud by the tax authorities that drove thousands of families to financial ruin, often based on ethnicity (here).

Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned at age 94 in February 2020 and was replaced with Muhyiddin Yassin, who later faced calls to resign in October 2020 after Malaysia’s king refused his request to declare a state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic. ( here and here ) Yassin still serves as prime minister.

OFFICIALS FIRED, RESIGNED OR STEPPED DOWN

The post claims that 300 government officials have been charged in Italy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped down, Estonian ministers have been fired and the Scottish Labour Party leader has resigned.

Over a year ago, on Dec. 19, 2019, Italian prosecutors said that 334 people, including politicians, lawyers, accountants, public officials and court clerks were arrested in one of the largest anti-mob operations in Italy against the ‘Ndrangheta’ mafia (here).

Merkel had announced since October 2018 that she would not be seeking reelection or any political offices (here). She is 66 and has been in her role for 15 years.

Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas resigned on Jan. 13, 2021 over a corruption inquiry and was replaced by Kaja Kallas, who became the first female prime minister (here).

Richard Leonard resigned as Scottish Labor leader on Jan. 14, 2021, saying it was in the best interests of the party for him to stand down before an election in Scotland expected to take place in May (here).

These government changes were neither hidden nor are they uncommon around the world. Government changes happened in Kuwait, Jordan and Finland in 2019, for example ( here , here and here ), and in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2018 ( here and here ) .

Officials resign often around the world due to various reasons, including government reshuffles, scandals, mishandling crises, retirement and more. Unlike the posts’ claims that these changes were not reported by the “mainstream media”, the links provided in this article show that they were reported.

DEATHS

The posts say “Baron Benjamin de Rothschild died age 58 years old” and “12 cardinals have dropped dead after testing positive for COVID-19.”

Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, chairman of the Edmond de Rothschild holding company, did die in January 2021 at the age of 57 following a heart attack (here). The Rothschilds, a prominent family in European banking, have been the victim of many, often anti-Semitic, conspiracy theories. As explained by the Washington Post here , theories range from the family controlling the weather and profiting from natural disasters to funding the Islamic State or controlling the world economy.

The post does not specify the names or locations of the 12 cardinals who allegedly died from COVID-19. The Catholic News Agency reported nine bishops “across three continents died as a result of the coronavirus” between January 8 and 15, 2021 (here).

WASHINGTON D.C. CLAIMS

The posts say that “Obamagate is being declassed implicating a lot”, that there are 20,000 members of the National Guard in D.C., which is in lockdown, and former President Donald J. Trump secretly enacted the insurrection act, putting the United States under military rule.

Trump has accused his predecessor Obama of seeking to damage his presidency in the past, repeatedly referring to it as “Obamagate” but offering no details. A Reuters explainer on “Obamagate” is visible  here .

Richard Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence appointed by Trump on May 12, 2020, declassified a list of Obama administration officials who sought to unmask Trump associates including Flynn and gave the list to the Justice Department. The list included Joe Biden and Biden’s campaign dismissed the release as a political stunt (here).

More than 25,000 troops were deployed to Washington, D.C. as part of increased security measures for the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden following the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol (here).

Local news outlet DCist reported on Jan. 25, 2021 here that 7,000 National Guard members will remain in D..C, with their numbers reducing to 5,000 in March.

The post does not specify why Washington, D.C. is in lockdown. Washington, D.C. is on “phase two” of its coronavirus restrictions (coronavirus.dc.gov/phasetwo) but not in any military-inspired “lockdown”. 

On Jan. 22, 2021, Reuters debunked the claims, connected to the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory, that Trump had invoked the insurrection act to hold on to power or ordered a military takeover, here . At the time, a U.S. government defense official told Reuters via email that neither martial law nor the Insurrection Act had been declared.

VERDICT

Partly false. While some claims presented are true, most are routinely explained and do not prove a link to a conspiracy theory. Unlike the posts’ claims, the government changes mentioned were covered by mainstream media outlets, including Reuters.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up