It is the season of resignation. 

Barely 24 hours after Jacob Zuma resigned as South Africa President, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has also thrown in the towel.

The resignation of Hailemariam, in power since 2012, comes amid protracted anti-government protests and follows a nationwide state of emergency last year.

His stepping down from power is unprecedented in the vast East African country.

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Hailemariam oversaw a smooth handover on 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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