HARARE, Zimbabwe — Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, resigned as president on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against him, according to the speaker of Parliament.
The speaker of Parliament read out a letter in which Mr. Mugabe said he was stepping down “with immediate effect” for “the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the need for a peaceful transfer of power.”
Parliament erupted into cheers and jubilant residents poured into the streets of Harare, the capital. It seemed to be an abrupt capitulation by Mr. Mugabe, who had refused to step down only two days earlier, when his former political party, ZANU-PF, formally expelled him.
Then on Tuesday, members of the governing party introduced a motion of impeachment, invoking a constitutional process that had never before been tested.
The party’s historic political rival, the Movement for Democratic Change, seconded the motion, a striking sign of the consensus in the political class that Mr. Mugabe must go — a consensus that formed with astonishing speed after the military took Mr. Mugabe into custody last Wednesday, signaling an end to his 37-year rule.