Ethiopian Prime Minister Resigns

Ethiopia prime minister in surprise resignation amid growing protests

Ethiopia's Desalegn Resigns as Prime Minister

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned on Thursday amid widespread protests, state media reported.

"I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy", the 53-year-old leader.

Representing less than seven percent of the population, Tigrayan domination has been shaken by three years of crippling protests by the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, who account for 60 percent of Ethiopia's 105 million people.

The unrest spread as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.

Most of the unrest has centred on Ethiopia's two largest regions, Oromia and Amhara.

The resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn, who has been in power since 2012, was reported by the state-affiliated broadcaster Fana on Thursday and follows a nationwide state of emergency past year.

"Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many".

I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.

He said both the EPRDF and his party, the Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement, have accepted his resignation, and he hoped parliament would accept it.

Some of Ethiopia's powerful elites have come to see the prime minister as weak and lacking in direction, she says. He said he had submitted his resignation as prime minister and the chairman of the ruling coalition which has been accused of suppressing dissent through arrest and torture of opposition members and protesters.

"Other officials also need to follow this and transfer the power to the public", he said.

In January, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced that his government would release detainees and so far 7,000 people saw either their charges dropped or were pardoned.

He has previously served as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.

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