Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced his resignation Sunday after seven years in the top job following weeks of high-level defections from the ruling party.

“I am announcing today that I am stepping down as the prime minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea,” O’Neill said in an emailed statement.

O’Neill, who handed the reins of power to former Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan, said the change of leadership will allow the country to “continue the reform agenda that we have been delivering.”

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