Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn resigns

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday submitted his resignation to parliament, also resigning as the chairman of the ruling coalition.

Desalegn’s resignation comes amid persistent political upheavals in the Horn of African country which has been releasing hudreds of political detainees to ease tensions.

Ethiopia has been dogged by protests since 2015, sparked initially by land issues which were born out of 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.

Lately, the Ethiopian government has been releasing prisoners, including opposition leaders and journalists, as it sought to lay a platform for dialogue.

“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.