Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has announced his resignation on Thursday in a televised address to the nation. 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.
“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.
Hailemariam added that he will stay on as caretaker prime minister until the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the parliament name his replacement.
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Hailemariam Desalegn’s resignation follows the release of opposition prisoners after a week of protests in the country against human rights abuses and violence perpetrated by the security forces.
Ethiopia has faced unrest since 2015 after the arrest of students and opposition figures in the Oromia region who were demonstrating against unfair treatment and abuses by the EPRDF government. Thousands of protesters were jailed and many died in the process.
The attacks and arrests by security forces were condemned by international agencies and partners resulting in measures instituted by the government to address the issues which are still lingering.
Desalegn has served as prime minister since 2012.