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Venezuelan opposition declares Guaido as Speaker of the National Assembly

Juan Pablo Guanipa and Carlos Berrizbeitia were appointed his deputies

CARACAS, January 6./TASS/. At a session outside the parliamentary building on Sunday, part of parliamentarians from the Venezuelan National Assembly declared opposition leader Juan Guaido as Speaker, private VPI television channel broadcast.

Juan Pablo Guanipa and Carlos Berrizbeitia were appointed his deputies. The private television said Guaido was supported by 100 out of 167 parliamentarians. The session of opposition parliamentarians took place at the editorial office of El Nacional newspaper.

"We witnessed an unsuccessful action carried out today by officials of the regime to prevent parliamentarians from entering the building of the National Assembly," Guaido told the session. "The dictatorship has made another political blunder - 26 or 29 parliamentarians were present [at the session in the parliamentary building].

Earlier, Luis Parra, who is Guaido’s political rival, declared himself head of the chamber. Part of the opposition rejected his oath of office, 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. The National Assembly dubbed the developments as a parliamentary coup in a tweet. President Nicolas Maduro backed Luis Parra as Speaker.

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.