June 2, 2018 / 1:00 PM / 5 months ago

Ethiopia to lift emergency rule two months early, declaring unrest over

ADDIS ABABA, June 2 (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s parliament is set to lift a six-month state of emergency two months early, after the cabinet approved a draft law that said calm has been restored, an official said.

The government imposed emergency rule in February, a day after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned amid popular unrest and division within the ruling coalition.

Since then, the authorities have pledged to push through a raft of reforms that have included the release of thousands of prisoners.

Abiy Ahmed, a former army officer who replaced Hailemariam as premier, has travelled to several areas of the country, promising to address grievances strengthen a range of political and civil rights.

On Saturday, the cabinet of ministers met to assess the security situation and “noted that law and order has been restored”, Abiy’s Chief of Staff Fitsum Arega said on Twitter.

“The draft will be sent to parliament for its consideration,” he added.

Ethiopia’s 547-seat House of People’s Representatives often holds its sessions on Monday. Its legislators - all members of the ruling party - are expected to endorse the move.

The government has twice imposed emergency rule to contain violence that broke out mainly in Oromiya province, the country’s most populous region, since 2015.

The unrest was provoked by a development scheme for the capital Addis Ababa that critics said would lead to land seizures in nearby Oromiya. Broader anti-government demonstrations later spread. (Editing by Peter Graff)

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