Sri Lanka’s President set to stand for 2nd term

In this photo taken on Nov. 5, 2018, Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena gestures as he addresses supporters at a rally in Colombo. (AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019

Sri Lanka’s President set to stand for 2nd term

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena looks set to run for a second term in office in defiance of his vow not to stay beyond his five-year tenure. Sirisena completed four years in power on Tuesday but is now likely to contest the next presidential elections early next year.

When he became president in January 2015 with a mandate from 6.4 million voters, Sirisena voluntarily pledged that he would not stand for a second term in office when his five-year tenure ended.

However, Azath Salley, governor of Sri Lanka’s Western Province,  told Arab News that Sirisena will be contesting the polls in early 2020, forming a broader coalition of political parties.

EU leaders’ decision on Brexit delay unlikely this week: Juncker

Updated 16 min 14 sec ago

EU leaders’ decision on Brexit delay unlikely this week: Juncker

  • The delay, nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, leaves the Brexit divorce uncertain

BERLIN: European Union leaders are unlikely to agree at a summit this week on a delay to Britain’s departure, and will probably have to meet again next week, the head of the bloc’s executive branch said Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to ask Brussels for a delay to Brexit, currently scheduled for March 29, ahead of the EU summit starting Thursday. Details remain unclear, but May’s troubles deepened when the speaker of the House of Commons ruled earlier this week that she can’t keep asking lawmakers to vote on the same divorce deal they have already rejected twice.

Britain’s political chaos is causing increasing exasperation among EU leaders. Asked by Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio what May would need to secure a delay this week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker replied that “she must bring approval of the negotiated deal and she must bring clear ideas on timing.”

“My impression is ... that this week at the European Council there will be no decision, but that we will probably have to meet again next week, because Mrs. May doesn’t have agreement to anything, either in her Cabinet or in Parliament,” Juncker added.

“As long as we don’t know what Britain could say yes to, we can’t reach a decision.”

A delay to Britain’s withdrawal would require the approval of all 27 remaining EU countries. Juncker said that “in all probability” Britain won’t leave on March 29, but underlined the EU’s insistence that it will not reopen the painstakingly negotiated withdrawal agreement that British lawmakers have snubbed.

“There will be no renegotiations, no new negotiations and no additional assurances on top of the additional assurances we have already given,” he said.

“We will keep talking to the British. We are not in a state of war with Britain, we are in a state of negotiations, but the negotiations are concluded.”