Global Political Calendar: Will May spring a Brexit surprise?
By John Goodrich
Brexit hits its (latest) crunch point, Huawei's CFO is back in court in Canada, the Ecuadorian president visits China and eyes will be on France as the government tries to compromise with protesters.
Britain has had a busload of "critical" Brexit moments over the past two years, but on Tuesday – barring last-minute delays – a truly pivotal vote will take place in parliament.
Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting to cajole a majority for her Brexit deal, struck with the EU after over 20 months of negotiations. She is expected to fail. And no one knows what will follow.
There remains a chance she will upset the odds, or postpone the vote. But if it is to be a defeat, much will depend on the scale.
A small loss could see May return to Brussels for further concessions, followed by another vote. An overwhelming rebellion would make it difficult for her to carry on as prime minister. An election, a second referendum, a new government and a compromise known as Norway-plus are among the many options on the table.
An EU summit is scheduled for the end of the week: will May make the trip to Brussels?
Meng bids for bail
A bail hearing for Meng Wanzhou, Chinese tech firm Huawei's chief financial officer, will continue in Vancouver following her arrest on December 1 at the request of the United States. The 46-year-old is reportedly accused of breaking U.S. sanctions on Iran and faces possible extradition to the United States.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned the Canadian ambassador at the weekend, calling for Meng's immediate release and warning of grave consequences. He described the detention as "unlawful, unreasonable, and nasty in nature."
The highly unusual case – and what it means for Huawei – is being closely watched around the world.
Speaking to CGTN at the presidential palace in Quito ahead of his trip, Moreno said: "China is one of the principal strategic partners of Ecuador. We are going to increase many of our exports to China, and increase imports. We will talk to President Xi Jinping about the possibility of financing, which we want in order to develop the nation."
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will wrap up a visit to China this week, and Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo is due to arrive on Wednesday.
The "gilets jaunes" movement was born in opposition to fuel price rises, but has developed into a broad protest against the economic status quo in France. The government has scrapped a planned fuel tax rise and frozen energy prices for 2019, but violent protests continued over the weekend.
Macron's approval rating has fallen to just 18 percent, and the president will be sorely tested as he seeks a way out of the current crisis. Will he offer more concessions, and will new measures be enough to stop the protests?
Monday: A bail hearing for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou continues in Vancouver, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier concludes a visit to China, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan attends the 2018 Imperial Springs International Forum in Guangzhou, French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to address the nation amid ongoing protests, the European Court of Justice rules on whether Britain can unilaterally halt the Brexit process, and campaigning starts ahead of Bangladesh's general elections.
Tuesday: British MPs are expected to vote on the government's Brexit deal, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno begins a three-day state visit to China, ASEAN+3 Finance and Central Bank Deputies are scheduled to meet, Google CEO Sundar Pichai appears before Congressional panel, and Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party holds annual conference
Wednesday: Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo begins a four-day formal visit to China, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Nepal, Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen is due to be sentenced for lying to Congress over a Russian real estate deal.
Thursday: Leaders of EU member states gather in Brussels for a two-day European Council summit on migration, a multi-year budget, the single market, and – reluctantly – Brexit.
Friday: A "Save Brexit" rally and counter-demonstration are scheduled in London.
Sunday: The West African nation of Togo votes in a referendum on constitutional reform.