MOSCOW, January 6. /TASS/./TASS/. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro welcomed on Sunday as legitimate the new leadership of the parliament with Luis Parra as new Speaker.
"The National Assembly held a session in the parliament building in accordance with the constitution. A new leadership was elected, consisting of the opposition, with parliamentarian Luis Parra at the head," the president told a news conference broadcast by Telesur television.
According to Maduro, "opposition parliamentarians rose against" the former parliamentary leadership and ex-Speaker Juan Guaido.
Earlier, Parra, who is Guaido’s rival, declared himself head of the chamber. Part of the opposition rejected this, saying the session had no necessary quorum. Guaido himself accused the country’s authorities of preventing parliamentarians from entering the building of the National Assembly, where the speaker was to be elected. The National Assembly called the developments as a parliamentary coup in its Twitter account.
Shortly after that, US Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michel Kozak, said that Washington continued seeing Juan Guaido as interim president of the republic. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza blasted this statement, lashing out at "blatant meddling" of the US authorities in domestic affairs of the country. "They don’t quite realize that we are an independent and sovereign country," he blogged in Twitter.
The political crisis in Venezuela exacerbated on January 23, 2019, when Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas. Several countries, including the United States, most of the EU states, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president.
Incumbent President of the country Nicolas Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US. In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.