15 February 2018

Ethiopia: PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns, Council of Ministers to Convene to Declare State of Emergency

Photo: Addis Standard
Protestd in Addis Ababa (file photo).

Addis Abeba — Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said he has submitted a letter requesting to resign from his role as Prime Minister and Chairman of Ethiopia's ruling party EPRDF.

Shortly after the PM announcement, a source close to the government told Addis Standard that the Council of Ministers of the ruling party EPRDF, the cabinet of the Government is "considering to convene an emergency meeting tomorrow in order to decide on declaring a temporary state of emergency."

However, there is a "strong push" from members of two of the parties that make up the EPRDF: the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the two parties that govern Oromia and Amhara regional states, according to our source.

In a televised address to the nation this afternoon, PM Hailemariam said he decided to resign from his post in order to help facilitate the ruling party's reform agenda to manage the current crisis in the country.

"We are at a stage where we are undertaking reforms," he said, adding he decided to resign "in order to become part of the solution... I believe it is necessary to be part of the solution." He also said he believed it was "appropriate to give proper answer to the demands the Ethiopian people are raising." He also admits the country is "at a gravely concerning stage."

PM Hailemariam submitted his resignation yesterday to the executive of his own party, The Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM), of which he is the chairman. The executive has accepted his resignation letter. The letter is also accepted by the executive of the ruling EPRDF during an emergency meeting this morning.

However, the final body, the 180 member Council of Ministers, is yet to convene to accept the resignation and elect a new chairman for the party, EPRDF. This may come within the next two to three weeks, according to our source. The Prime Minister said he "fully believes" the Council will also accept his resignation when it "convenes soon."

PM Hailemariam said he will be staying in his role until there is a power transition and asked the people of Ethiopia, especially the youth, to preserve the country's peace and development.

PM Hailemariam was elected as chairman of the ruling EPRDF by the party's Council during its regular meeting held on Sep. 14th and 15th. He replaced the late PM Meles Zenawi. He was then subsequently elected as Prime Minister of the country. AS

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