Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn resigns, says to pave way for reforms

Ethiopian prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn during a joint press Conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House on June 23, 2016. /Jack Owuor
Ethiopian prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn during a joint press Conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House on June 23, 2016. /Jack Owuor

Ethiopia's prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn has resigned.

He submitted his resignation on Thursday as Prime Minister and Chairman of Ethiopia's ruling coalition.

Desalegn said he hopes his resignation will be accepted by the executive of the party.

The move comes amid a political crisis and lingering unrest in the Horn of Africa country.

Desalegn said this was in an effort to facilitate reforms following a period of mass unrest.

Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa.

The unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.

"Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many," Hailemariam said in a televised address to the nation.

"... I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy," he said.

Hailemariam said he would stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the country's parliament accepted his resignation and named a new premier.