Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desaleg resigns

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation Thursday in an effort to quell the country’s political unrest.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned on Thursday in an effort to "carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned on Thursday in an effort to “carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.” File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Desalegn, 52, has led Ethiopia since 2012, but said his resignation as both prime minister and leader of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition is “vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.”

Hundreds of people have died in three years of anti-government protests centered around Ethiopia’s two largest regions, Oromia and Amhara.

Desalegn said he hopes his resignation will advance reforms at a time when “many lives have been lost, people have been displaced and property damaged, and there are efforts to harm investments.”

Both the EPRDF and Desalegn’s party, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, agreed to accept his resignation and he said he hopes Parliament will do the same.

In January Desalegn announced all political prisoners in the country will be released and Maekelawi, a prison ward at the center of torture allegations, will be closed.

By Daniel Uria