Ethiopia begins six-month state of emergency

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s resignation comes after months of escalating anti-government protests and signs of growing splits within the ruling coalition

In his speech, Desalegn noted that people had been displaced and injured and property damaged in the recent unrest and that he believed his resignation was necessary to carry out the democratic reforms that were underway. Last month, the government changed tack, announcing the release of hundreds of political prisoners and promising further reforms.

Rumours that Hailemariam would go have been circulating in the capital Addis Ababa for months, but his announcement came as a surprise.

The government has been under pressure because of continuing street protests.

"He is unable to control the party and he is unable to control the government, and I think it is the right decision that he resigned", Hallelujah said.

Ethiopia researcher at Amnesty International Fisseha Tekle said the newfound prosperity would be imperilled if the incoming prime minister doesn't hold security forces to account and revise laws that have been used to prosecute political activists and journalists.

"Our land can't continue being taken from us".

Ethiopia is a key US ally in its battle against al-Qaeda in the Horn of Africa. 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.

Human development GDP per capita press freedom and corruption perception in Ethiopia with comparisons to other selected African countries
Human development GDP per capita press freedom and corruption perception in Ethiopia with comparisons to other selected African countries

There are many pitfalls ahead, but the next few days will determine whether the Ethiopian nation will proceed down the path of peace and dialogue, or blunder haplessly into widespread civic unrest and bloodshed.

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.

Hailemariam's resignation has been accepted by the executive committees of both the EPRDF and his own party within the coalition, the Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM).

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

Ethiopia follows a parliamentary system.

"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".

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