Madrid (AFP) – Spain, France and Germany put embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro on notice ahead of an UN Security Council meeting on Saturday, saying they would recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as president unless he calls elections within eight days.
The ultimatum comes as international pressure mounts on the Maduro regime to agree to a new vote, after the United States, Canada and major South American players recognised Guaido, who proclaimed himself acting president of Venezuela during massive street rallies this week.
After four years of economic pain that has left Venezuelans short of food and medicine and driven more than two million to flee, Guaido is trying to oust Maduro following controversial elections that saw the socialist leader sworn in for a second term.
“If within eight days there are no fair, free and transparent elections called in Venezuela, Spain will recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president” so that he himself can call such polls, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised announcement.
French President Emmanuel Macron followed suit in a tweet, saying “the Venezuelan people must be able to freely decide on their future,” as did German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz.
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