Ethiopia prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigns

Ethiopia’s prime minister says he has submitted his resignation as both prime minister and the chairman of the ruling coalition.

Hailemariam Desalegn’s announcement comes amid a political crisis and lingering unrest in the Horn of Africa country, which has been releasing thousands of prisoners to ease tensions.

Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa. The unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.

“Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many,” Hailemariam said in a televised address to the nation on Thursday.

“… I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy,” he said.

Hailemariam has said he will stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the country’s parliament accept his resignation and name a new premier.

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