Guaido brands Venezuela parliament rival 'accomplice of dictatorship'

Guaido brands Venezuela parliament rival 'accomplice of dictatorship'
Guaido brands Venezuela parliament rival 'accomplice of dictatorship'

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - CARACAS - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Monday branded a rival claimant to the post of speaker of the National Assembly an "accomplice of the dictatorship" of President Nicolas Maduro amid a deepening political impasse.

Police prevented Guaido from entering the National Assembly he heads on Sunday and a corruption-tainted opposition lawmaker, Luis Parra, declared himself parliament speaker in his absence, setting the stage for the latest confrontation in crisis-wracked Venezuela.

Guaido later held a separate parliamentary session at the offices of an opposition-leaning newspaper in which he was re-elected president of the National Assembly.

It was as National Assembly president that Guaido proclaimed himself acting president of Venezuela nearly a year ago, launching a direct challenge to Maduro.

Guaido said he would lead a parliamentary session in the National Assembly on Tuesday, despite having been denied access to the building on Sunday.

He repudiated Parra as "an accomplice to the dictatorship."

Parra, a former Guaido ally who was kicked out of his opposition party last month after being accused of graft, dismissed Sunday's events outside parliament as "a show."

He said Guaido knew he "didn't have enough votes" to be re-elected and so fabricated the story of his being denied entry to the National Assembly.

"He preferred to stay outside, (and) take the path of a show," said Parra, who added that Guaido would still be welcome in parliament but as just "another deputy."

Video and photographic images, however, showed Guaido trying to climb over a metal railing to gain access to the National Assembly compound only to be pushed back by police with riot shields.

The United States, as well as the European Union, Brazil, Colombia and the Lima Group -- a dozen Latin American countries and Canada -- congratulated Guaido on his re-election.

"Told him estamos con usted (we are with you) and we will stand with you and the people of Venezuela until your #libertad is restored!" US Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, saying he'd spoken to Guaido on the phone.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed "concern" over Parra's self-proclaimed victory, an act that the Organization of American States (OAS) denounced as "null and void and devoid of any legal value." -AFP

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