EU leaders unite behind call for elections
The European Union yesterday said it could recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's leader if the beleaguered South American country's government doesn't announce new elections within the coming eight days.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement yesterday that the European bloc would intensify contacts with international partners "in the coming hours" on Venezuela's crisis.
The EU urgently called for new elections, saying that Venezuela's presidential vote last year was not democratic.
Mogherini said: "In the absence of an announcement on the organisation of fresh elections with the necessary guarantees over the next days, the EU will take further actions, including on the issue of recognition of the country's leadership."
Mogherini was pressurised to move after major European countries early yesterday threw their weight behind Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido, saying that they would recognise him as interim president if Nicolas Maduro failed to call elections within eight days.
Britain, Germany, France and Spain all said they would recognise Guaido unless fresh elections were announced.
Venezuela has sunk into turmoil under the Maduro regime with food shortages and daily protests amid an economic and political crisis that sparked the mass emigration of three million of its one-time 32 million citizens - and inflation that the IMF has predicted to rise to 10,000,000pc this year.