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On Thursday, February 15th, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation, following his recent statement to release political prisoners, which has set off a historic moment in Ethiopia's current political reform.

The announcement was made amid a political crisis in the Horn of Africa country. Only once since decolonisation in the Sixties - when Tanzania's Julius Nyerere resigned in 1985 - has a leader on Africa's eastern coastline resigned voluntarily midterm.

Hailemariam's departure was widely expected.

Hailemariam added that he will stay on as caretaker prime minister until the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the parliament name his replacement.

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The Prime Minister called on the youths to exert efforts to maintain peace and stability in the country. The unrest began as opposition to an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa, but morphed into public demonstrations against political restrictions, land grabbing and human rights abuses.

Hailemariam's resignation comes amid protracted anti-government protests that have left hundreds dead and tens of thousands detained.

Since Monday, protesters in three regions of the country have demonstrated, demanding the release of all political prisoners, BBC reported.

Internal challenges also continued to mount in 2017, as clashes between ethnic Somalis and Oromos, who together constitute more than 40% of the country's over 100-million-population, intensified.

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The government responded with deadly force, imposed an emergency rule, banned the posting of updates on Facebook, repeatedly blocked the internet, and declared that watching opposition, diaspora-run television stations illegal. Since then, more than 6,000 prisoners have been released.

That could help ease ongoing political tensions in the short-term, until Ethiopians cast their votes in general elections, which are scheduled for 2020, he said.

"I hope there will come a person who will decide to reconcile the radicalised division in Ethiopia".

He has previously served as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.

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