Spain recognizes Guaido as interim president of Venezuela

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a statement on the political crisis in Venezuela at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday recognized Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela, adding that the Latin American country now needed free and fair elections as soon as possible.

“I recognize the president of Venezuela’s assembly, Mr Juan Guaido, as president in charge of Venezuela,” Sanchez said in a televised statement.

This echoed the words of other Western countries like France, after an eight-day deadline they set on Jan. 26 for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to call elections has not been met.

Reporting by Jose Rodriguez; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Toby Chopra