Eight days - so much time has Venezuela's ruler Nicolás Maduro to start new elections. If he refuses, the federal government wants to recognize Juan Guaidó as head of state - the self-proclaimed interim president, currently Maduro's fiercest adversary. This explained the deputy government spokeswoman Martina Fietz. Similar comments were made by French President Emmanuel Macron and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
"The people of Venezuela must be able to decide freely and safely about their future," Fietz wrote in the short message service Twitter. Should Maduro let the deadline pass, Guaidó, as transitional president, should initiate such a political process. On Friday EU diplomats in Brussels had indicated that a joint statement of the 28 EU Member States in this direction was in the vote.
Maduro had officially started his second term on January 10th. However, most of the opposition boycotted the presidential election of May 2018 and did not acknowledge the outcome.
9 picturesPolitical unrest in Venezuela: Adiós, Maduro!
The head of state is accused of increasingly turning Venezuela into an autocracy. He had, for example, let the parliament dominated by the opposition be disempowered. In addition, there is a severe economic crisis in the country.
On Wednesday, opposition parliamentary president Guaidó declared himself the interim president in mass protests. The US and a number of other Western and Latin American countries recognized him immediately.
Guaidó announced further major rallies for next week. "We're back on the road, the way is clear: end of the usurpation, interim government, free elections," he said on Friday in Caracas to cheering supporters.
However, Maduro can still count on the armed forces. Guaidó called on the military on Friday to support the opposition. "Soldiers, stand on the side of the Venezuelan people."