Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger has quit following the party’s disastrous result in last week’s state election.
Mr Kroger announced his decision at a meeting of the party’s state assembly on Friday night.
Senior party figures, including former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, had called for his resignation.
Mr Kroger had already declared his intention not to seek another term as president, but is leaving prematurely after the Liberal Party’s disastrous defeat at the polls.
‘Time to go’
In a statement to members on Friday night, Mr Kroger said “upon reading various newspaper articles today I think that when your own supporters are basically telling you it is time to go, then it is probably time to go”.
“At the very least it will allow an interim president roughly six months to continue preparations for the forthcoming federal election.
“Accordingly I have advised the meeting of State Assembly tonight that I am standing down as president at the end of the meeting.”
“These are difficult times for the Liberal Party,” he said.
“The future of our country is at stake as the threat looms of a Shorten government which would be Australia’s worst nightmare.
“The Victorian Division needs unity, strength and a renewed sense of purpose and given the public bloodletting since last Saturday, I think it is better that the party move forward now rather than wait until the end of March.”
The announcement was welcomed by Mr Kennett, who thanked Mr Kroger for standing down.
“He has put the interests of his party first,” Mr Kennett said.
“The party has indicated within a week of the defeat we had last weekend that we are starting the rebuilding process.”
Mr Kroger had been a divisive character in the party for years.
His presidency was challenged by some, but ultimately he managed the strong support of the membership during this year’s ballots.
Mr Kroger was regularly criticised because he allowed accused branch-stackers to run amok with new recruits – something that angered traditional members of the party.