February 3, 2019 / 2:11 PM / 3 months ago

Austria to recognise Guaido if Venezuela's Maduro does not call election

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria will acknowledge Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president if Nicolas Maduro does not respond to the European Union’s call for a free and fair presidential election, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Twitter.

President Maduro proposed an early parliamentary election on Saturday, seeking to shore up his crumbling rule after a senior general defected to the opposition and tens of thousands thronged the streets in protest at his government.

Kurz’s message on Sunday echoed a statement by France’s European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau, who dismissed Maduro’s election proposal as a “farce”.

“I just had a very good phone call with President @jguaido,” Kurz tweeted. “He has our full support to restore democracy in Venezuela.” Venezuelans had suffered too long from mismanagement and a disregard for the rule of law under Maduro, he said.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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