Davos blues: Three world leaders pull plug amid problems at home

JOHANNESBURG — Theresa May has become the latest leader to skip Davos, joining Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron. Interestingly, a crisis of epic proportions in Zimbabwe has done little to dissuade Emmerson Mnangagwa from attending the world’s most elite gathering in the Swiss Alps. – Gareth van Zyl

By Simon Kennedy

(Bloomberg) – British Prime Minister Theresa May became the latest leader to cancel a trip to next week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, forced to stay home by the need to address domestic political drama.

Brexit negotiations will keep May from travelling to Switzerland, her spokesman told reporters on Thursday. With just 10 weeks before the UK is supposed to leave the European Union, she is trying to piece together a compromise deal with her political enemies that will get through Parliament.

May is the third major leader to drop out of the annual gathering in Davos. President Donald Trump canceled his visit because of the US government shutdown. French President Emmanuel Macron is also not attending after weeks of protests against his reform program.

Skipping the conference deprives the leaders of a chance to showcase their policies before the world’s most influential business executives and investors. At the same time, being pictured in the Alps surrounded by the global elite would risk incurring fresh irritation from voters.

Some leaders are still making the trip, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

They may find themselves being criticised by delegates increasingly worried that politicians are threatening the global economic outlook by pursuing populist policies such as the trade war, shutdown and Brexit.

BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink, who will be in Davos, said in a letter to fellow bosses released Thursday that they should do more to solve the challenges governments are “failing to do so effectively.”