London: The United Kingdom along with other European nations, including Spain, France and Sweden, have recognised Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim President after embattled President Nicolas Maduro failed to announce fresh Presidential elections by Sunday.
“Nicolas Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let’s hope this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Monday.
Nicolas Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let’s hope this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) February 4, 2019
Furthermore, Spain too extended its support to Guaido, with its Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeting, “I recognize as president in charge of Venezuela @ jguaido with a clear horizon: the call for free, democratic presidential elections, with guarantees and without exclusions. I will not take a step back. For freedom, democracy and concord in # Venezuela,” in Spanish.
Reconozco como presidente encargado de Venezuela a @jguaido, con un horizonte claro: la convocatoria de elecciones presidenciales libres, democráticas, con garantías y sin exclusiones.
No daré ni un paso atrás.
Por la libertad, la democracia y la concordia en #Venezuela
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) February 4, 2019
France, recognising Guaido as the interim President as well, noted that the National Assembly’s President had the power to carry out elections in the Latin American nation.
“Venezuelans have the right to express themselves freely and democratically. France recognizes @ jguaido as “president in charge” to implement an electoral process. We support the Contact Group, created with the EU, in this transition period,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Monday.
Les Vénézuéliens ont le droit de s’exprimer librement et démocratiquement. La France reconnaît @jguaido comme « président en charge » pour mettre en œuvre un processus électoral. Nous soutenons le Groupe de contact, créé avec l’UE, dans cette période de transition.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) February 4, 2019
Within minutes of each other Denmark, Sweden and Austria joined the steadily growing list; Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told Swedish Radio that “in this situation we support and consider Guaido as a legitimate interim president.” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted that Guaido “can rely on our full support in his efforts to re-establish democracy in Venezuela, which has been suffering too long from poor governance and the absence of the rule of law.”
The European countries’ declaration comes after their eight-day ultimatum to Maduro for holding fresh Presidential elections in Venezuela expired on Sunday. The nations join the United States in pushing for a change of regime in Venezuela, which is currently seeing an acute shortage of medicines and hyperinflation despite being an oil-rich country.
Maduro has refused to step down from his post as President, despite repeated calls for his resignation. On January 23, Guaido proclaimed himself to be the President amidst a cheering crowd of protesters. The United States was the first to recognise Guaido as President and has also promised humanitarian aid to the nation. The countries have also repeatedly asked Venezuela’s military to pledge their allegiance to Guaido.
Countries like Russia and China, however, have slammed foreign interference in Venezuela’s internal matters and have supported Maduro as the President.