What’s the crisis?
- Both Juan Guaidó and Nicolás Maduro have debatable claims to legitimacy.
- European Union, Australia, US, New Zealand have recognised Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader as the president.
- Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader, has said that President Nicolás Maduro is illegitimate and has asserted himself as Venezuela’s interim president.
How did the Presidential Crisis begin?
- On 23rd January the leader of the legislature, Juan Guaidó, declared himself acting president and said he would assume the powers of the executive branch from there onwards.
- This was a challenge to President Nicolás Maduro, who had been sworn into a second six-year term in office just two weeks previously.
- President Maduro condemned this as a ploy by the US to oust him.
- Nicolás Maduro was first elected as President with a thin margin of 1.6 percentage votes in April 2013 after the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez.
- Nicolás Maduro was re-elected to the office of president for a second six-year term in highly controversial elections in May 2018, which most opposition parties boycotted.
- After being re-elected Nicolás Maduro announced that he would serve out his remaining first term and only then be sworn in for a second term.
- The National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó argues that because the election was not fair Articles 233 and 333 of Venezuela’s constitution empower the head of the National Assembly takes over as acting president under such circumstances.
- Juan Guaidó has staked the claim to be the acting president, as he was the head of the legislature.