Ethiopia to lift emergency rule two months early

web_photo_ Abiy Ahmed_16042018

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's new prime minister Abiy Ahmed attends a rally during his visit to Ambo in the Oromiya region, Ethiopia April 11, 2018.

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's new prime minister Abiy Ahmed attends a rally during his visit to Ambo in the Oromiya region, Ethiopia April 11, 2018.

ADDIS ABABA - The Ethiopian parliament is 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.

READ: Over 1100 arrested under Ethiopia state of emergency

Since then, the authorities have pledged to push through a raft of reforms, including 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 and 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&39;s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, said on Twitter.

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

Ethiopia&39;s 547-seat House of People&39;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&39;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