Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rejected on Sunday a call by the European Union to organize a snap presidential election after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the country’s interim head of state, AFP reported, citing an excerpt from an interview with Spanish broadcaster La Sexta.
“We don’t accept ultimatums from anyone […] It is as if I have told the European Union: I give them seven days to recognize the Republic of Catalonia or otherwise we are not going to take action”, Maduro was quoted as saying in an interview given to the Salvados program, broadcast by the Spanish channel La Sexta.
“The people [of Venezuela] has elected me for a six-year term. I think it will be better for my country if all the Venezuelans act in compliance with the provisions of the constitution”, Maduro added, stressing that the next presidential election was scheduled for 2025.
On January 26, European countries issued an ultimatum to the constitutionally-elected Venezuelan President Maduro, saying that he had eight days to organize an election or they would recognize opposition leader Guaido as the country’s interim president.
Maduro called Guaido a “US puppet” and accused Washington, which has stated that it has all options — including the use of its military — on the table to respond to the crisis, of organizing a coup in the South American country.
Maduro told Sputnik, however, that he would welcome snap parliamentary elections in the country as this would be a “very good form of political discussion”.
On Saturday, Maduro confirmed his previously-voiced support for early elections to the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
On January 23, Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly, proclaimed himself the country’s interim president and was immediately recognized by the administration of US President Donald Trump as well as a number of other countries. Maduro has accused Guaido of acting at the instruction of Washington and claims that the Trump administration was plotting together with the opposition to overthrow him.
On Monday, the US blocked all assets of Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA) the state-owned oil firm, within its jurisdiction amid the ongoing political crisis. The US also imposed a ban on deals with the company, claiming that it was acting in the interests of the people of Venezuela. Maduro slammed the move as unlawful and accused Washington of attempts to “steal” the nation’s resources.
Earlier this week, the European parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the self-proclaimed president, Guaido, as the Venezuelan leader, urging EU member states to follow suit. However, EU Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the right to recognize or not recognize Venezuelan leadership lies with individual member states of the bloc and not within the EU’s administrative institutions.
Russia, China, Mexico, Iran, Turkey and several other nations have consistently backed the current president, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro has repeatedly blamed Washington for attempting to stage a coup in the nation.