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France to recognise Guaido as interim president if Maduro doesn't call elections by Sunday night

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France to recognise Guaido as interim president if Maduro doesn't call elections by Sunday night
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REUTERS
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France will recognise Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela if Nicolas Maduro does not call for a presidential vote by Sunday night, France's European affairs minister said on Sunday.

"If by tonight Nicolas Maduro does not commit to organising new elections, then we'll consider Juan Guaido as interim president," Nathalie Loiseau said on a French politics talk show.

The minister called Maduro's last year's elections "a farce."

Following in France's footsteps, Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Twitter his country would also recognise Guaido as interim president if Maduro does not respond to the European Union's call for fair and free presidential elections.

Guaido has called for new presidential elections after the controversial vote last year.

An EU-Latin America contact group will meet in Montevideo, Uruguay, next Thursday to discuss the situation in Venezuela, said a joint statement by the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and Uruguay's President Tabare Vasquez.

A day earlier, Maduro proposed early parliamentary elections in a bid to crush the threat posed by proclaimed interim president Guaido.

The struggling Maduro saw the first military defection by a high-ranked general and numerous protests against his government on Saturday.

The military's support is essential for Maduro who's grown very unpopular since an unprecedented economic crisis caused millions of Venezuelans to flee to neighbouring countries.

While small rebellions have broken out in the military, there haven't been any big uprisings yet.

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