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Ethiopian prime minister resigns

RESIGNED: Hailemariam Desalegn (Photo credit: Ebrahim Hamid/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

ETHIOPIA'S PRIME minister Hailemariam Desalegn, has resigned amid protracted anti-government protests.

The resignation of Desalegn, who has been in power since 2012, was first reported by the state-affiliated broadcaster Fana on Thursday (Feb 15) and follows a nationwide state of emergency last year. His stepping down is unprecedented in the east African country.

In a statement released yesterday, Desalegn said: "In an effort to address the challenges currently facing the country in light of the public’s legitimate demands for development, democracy and good governance, the EPRDF and the government have commenced a number of reforms. Reforms that are currently underway and that we are striving to successfully implement.

"On my part, in an effort to fulfil my responsibilities as a party to these reforms, I have officially tendered, of my own volition, my resignation from the leadership of both the EPRDF and the Government.

"As per the terms of my resignation letter, the SEPDM and EPRDF executive committees have thanked me for formally tendering my resignation in accordance with the constitution and have subsequently accepted my resignation. This resignation will receive a final decision from the EPRDF Council and it is my hope that this decision will be taken at the soon to be held meeting of the Council.

"With regard to my post as Prime Minister of the Federal Government, the House of Peoples Representatives has also received my resignation from the premiership and it is my belief that they will subsequently accept my resignation.

"The main reason I have submitted my resignation is because I hold the firm belief that it was necessary for me to tender it as part of a solution aimed at ensuring lasting peace and guaranteeing democracy in our country going forward.

"The many questions and grievances that have been raised by the public require and demand answers.

In the meantime, I will continue to serve in my current position."

Hailemariam Desalegn, previously a low-profile politician and technocrat, succeeded the former Marxist rebel Meles Zenawi, under whom he had served as deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

The Guardian contributed to this report

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