Venezuela’s former president Nicolas Maduro has switched his stance on elections and challenged interim president Juan Guaido to one. Guaido, who stepped in as interim president of the South American nation last month, is recognized by over 40 countries, including the US and Colombia.
Maduro said during an event that he should call for elections. The former president added that he would win the election. His comments on Tuesday were a bit of surprise to most people since Maduro and his party have refused to hold a presidential election.
The international community has asked for Maduro to call for a presidential election but he has refused, repeatedly mentioning that he was the winner of the election last year. His party has proposed parliamentary elections but the opposition and supporters insist that he has to step away and allow the humanitarian aid to enter the country.
Guaido and the opposition plan to shake things up in the electoral council, which is considered biased in favor of the PSUV party. The opposition is planning to hold elections since Guaido is just an interim president. But they first plan to make changes to the electoral council, which has often been accused of being behind the questionable results of previous elections.
In recent weeks, Maduro repeatedly said that he was the president of Venezuela since he won the presidential election held last year. Maduro won that election by a big margin, sparking accusations of fraud since his approval rating is said to be very low. That election was moved up and was boycotted by many candidates of the opposition.
Maduro was sworn in last month but several countries had already announced that he would not be recognized. Last year’s election, which was labeled as fraudulent, triggered Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution. Juan Guaido then stepped in as interim president on January 23 and announced that there would be an election in the near future.
In recent days, several countries have called for a presidential election. The opposition’s current plan is to bring humanitarian aid to the country, which is seeing record levels of inflation and shortages in medicine and food.
Maduro and supporting officials have denied that there is a crisis in the country. They accuse the opposition of using the aid to remove him from power. Guaido and the opposition have repeatedly said that the humanitarian aid will enter the country on February 23.
Maduro, the Defense Minister and other officials have said that the aid will not enter the country. The Defense Minister said yesterday that troops will remain on the border with Colombia.
The arrival of the humanitarian aid to the country will also bring a concert. Several artists have confirmed their participation in the event. The Minister of Information and Communication Jorge Rodriguez recently revealed that his party will also hold a concert on that day and the day before.
The opposition, US President Donald Trump and Florida Senator Marco Rubio have all warned Venezuelan military officials, saying that the time is running out. Guaido has offered amnesty for those who decide to step aside in the military.
The United Nations estimates that about 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015. The US, Chile and Colombia are among the countries that have become the home of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans in recent years.