European leaders give Venezuela’s Maduro eight days to hold new elections

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European leaders announced Saturday that if Venezuela does not hold new elections, they will recognize National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president.

Guaidó announced himself as Venezuela’s interim president on Wednesday, alleging that Nicolás Maduro’s rule is illegitimate.

The U.S., Canada, the Organization of American States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia all endorsed Guaidó quickly after he declared himself interim president.

{mosads}Other countries have withheld their endorsement until new elections are held. Election officials said Maduro won the last election, though many organizations consider them illegitimate.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Saturday that they are not interested in removing or imposing governments because Spain “believes in democracy and free elections in Venezuela.”

“That said, if in eight days there are not free, transparent and democratic elections, Spain will recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela.”

French President Emmanuel Macron followed in suit soon after, saying that “the Venezuelan people should be able to freely decide their future.”

“If elections are not announced in eight days, we could recognize Guaidó as the ‘president in charge’ of Venezuela to implement that political process. We will work jointly with out European allies.”

A spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel tweeted Saturday that, “the people of Venezuela must be able to freely and securely decide about its future,” according to The Associated Press.

The United Nations Security Council is set to meet later Saturday to discuss the situation in Venezuela.

Maduro has accused Guaidó and countries backing him of staging a coup and violating Venezuela’s sovereignty.


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