Ethiopia: Hailemariam Desalegn resigns to quell unrest
Ethiopia’s prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn has unexpectedly resigned, after the worst anti-government protests in over 25 years, saying he hoped the surprise decision would help planned reforms succeed and create a lasting peace.
Ethiopia has been rocked by months of protests demanding greater freedoms that have left hundreds dead and many more detained. The government recently released more than 6,500 detained opposition figures, journalists and activists in January in a bid to stymie the unrest. The resignation of Hailemariam, in power since 2012, has created uncertainty in the East African nation.
Hailemariam oversaw a smooth handover following the death of former Marxist rebel Meles Zenawi, turning the relatively little-known politician and technocrat to an influential leader. However, in 2015, months of anti-government demonstrations spread across Ethiopia, leaving hundreds dead and prompting parliament to declare a 10-month state nationwide state of emergency in October 2016. The emergency quelled the worst of the violence but periodic uprisings still occur.
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