Brussels, Jan 31 (IANS) The European Parliament on Thursday recognized US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim President of Venezuela.
The European Union’s legislative arm said the embattled incumbent Nicolas Maduro had failed to heed demands calling for fresh presidential elections in the crisis-struck South American country, Efe news reported.
The European Parliament thus joined the US and a dozen other nations in recognizing Guiado as acting leader.
Opposition leader Guaido proclaimed himself interim President on January 23 in a move rejected by Maduro’s allies Russia and China. Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, said that the Constitution allowed him to assume power temporarily when the President was deemed illegitimate.
In an interview with a Russian news agency on Wednesday, Maduro said he was prepared to hold talks with the opposition but refused any chance of fresh polls, insisting his victory last spring had been legitimate.
“I am ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the opposition so that we could talk for the good of Venezuela,” he told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Maduro said that if the US and others wanted a fresh vote, they would have to wait until 2025. He added that he was not prepared to accept ultimatums or blackmail and insisted that he had the backing of Venezuela’s military and accused deserters of conspiring to plot a coup.
He also told RIA that he would support early parliamentary elections as “a good form of political discussion”.