Leaders of Spain, Germany, France and the United Kingdom have warned Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, that he must call for elections within eight days, or they will officially recognize the opposition.
Maduro has been under pressure after his rival, Juan Guaidó, head of the country’s national assembly, declared himself “acting president” on Wednesday.
Several countries, including the US, have recognized Guaidó as president.
Maduro, who was sworn in for a second term earlier this month, has accused Guaidó of organizing a coup. He has cut ties with Washington, following his recognition as president.
Elections that brought Maduro to power for a second term were marred by an opposition boycott, and allegations of vote-rigging, leading to large-scale protests.
On Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, wrote on Twitter: “Spain has a responsibility to Latin America… we do not seek to change or remove governments, we want democracy and free elections in Venezuela.”
France and Germany also issued similar statements, in what looked like a co-ordinated demand that elections be held in Venezuela.
Jeremy Hunt, UK’s Foreign Secretary, said the election in Venezuela had been “deeply flawed”, repeating his view that Maduro was “not the legitimate leader”.
A United Nations Security Council meeting was also called to discuss the crisis.
Speaking at the meeting, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said it was time to “support the Venezuelan people immediately”.
He blamed Maduro for the country’s humanitarian crisis, adding: “Now we have a new leader, who has promised to bring elections and security back to the region.”
But Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, accused Washington of plotting a coup against Maduro.
Millions of Venezuelans have fled the country over economic hardship.
Tens of thousands of people have held protests over the situation, including an annual inflation rate that the opposition said it reached 1,300,000 percent last year.