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Venezuela's Capriles calls on opposition to shut interim government -report

CARACAS (Reuters) - Two-time Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles called for end to an interim government created in 2019 by congress chief Juan Guaido with U.S. backing, according to an interview published by the BBC on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles is shown with supporters after voting in an election for new governors in Caracas, Venezuela, October 15, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

Guaido is recognized as the nation’s legitimate leader by dozens of countries that disavowed President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election. Guaido at the same time said the constitution put him in line to assume power as he was head of parliament.

But the Socialist Party won a majority of votes in the Dec. 6 legislative election that was boycotted by the opposition, undermining Guaido’s claim to the presidency and fueling doubt about the U.S. plan to maintain the interim government.

“The new administration should understand that this plan has been exhausted and (it) cannot give continuity to the status quo: the interim government,” the BBC quoted Capriles as saying.

Guaido’s press team declined to comment.

Press advisers for Capriles did not respond to a request for comment. The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Capriles criticized the current plan, under which lawmakers would continue to describe themselves as legitimate parliamentarians even after their five-year term expires on Jan. 5, the BBC reported.

“It’s a very complicated precedent for the future, because we open the door to Maduro saying that he will extend his government without holding an election,” Capriles said, according to the BBC.

Some opposition legislators reiterated their support for Guaido via social media.

“The opposition does not have a boss, but it has a leader and his name is @jguaido, he has put himself on the line for this and for us,” lawmaker Luis Florido wrote via Twitter.

Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera with additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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