Spain gives Venezuela's Maduro eight-day ultimatum
January 26 2019 03:08 PM
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers an official statement on the government's position on the political crisis in Venezuela, in Madrid, Spain

AFP/Madrid

Spain on Saturday gave embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro an ultimatum, saying it would recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as president unless he calls elections within eight days.
"If within eight days there are no fair, free and transparent elections called in Venezuela, Spain will recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised announcement.
The statement is the most explicit yet from an EU member state as the 28-member bloc is in the process of drafting a joint statement with regards to its position on the crisis in Venezuela.
Guaido, the 35-year-old head of the National Assembly, proclaimed himself acting president of Venezuela during massive street rallies this week.
He is trying to oust Maduro from the economically strapped country following controversial elections that saw the socialist leader sworn in for a second term.
Maduro's reelection last year was contested by the opposition and criticised internationally -- but he has until now retained the loyalty of the powerful military.
The United States, Brazil, Argentina and other countries have already endorsed Guaido in repudiation of Maduro.
Spain is closely linked to Venezuela, a former colony, as some 200,000 of its nationals live there.
Since his self-proclamation as interim leader, Guaido has rejected an offer of talks with Maduro and called for a "major demonstration."



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