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01/15/2020 Ethiopia (International Christian Concern) – All denominations of Ethiopian churches called for national unity during their unique Christmas celebrations, which occur about 10 days after the more common Christmas on December 25.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in his holiday message to the people that the “celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is a holiday of unity, which marks dissolution of separation and enmity.” A majority Christian nation, Ethiopia still struggles with persecution, especially recently as ethnic divides have heightened in recent months. More than 30 church buildings have been destroyed or damaged in the last 18 months.

Ethiopia has also proposed to hold its national vote in mid-August, which will be the first poll under Ethiopia’s new leader. His work to ease political tensions resulted in his receipt of the Noble Peace Prize. However, with ethnic tensions on the rise, violence sparked, especially in the southern regions. One analyst, William Davidson, commented, “an overall majority for Prime Minister Ahmed’s party is by no means guaranteed, especially if the opposition is allowed to freely campaign”. The parliamentary voting has been promised to be a credible, multi-party competition.

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