CARACAS: Venezuela`s President Nicolas Maduro has dismissed calls for new presidential elections amid fresh protests against his leadership. In an interview with a Russian news agency on Wednesday, Maduro said he was prepared to hold talks with the opposition.
"I am ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the opposition so that we could talk for the good of Venezuela," he told Russian news agency RIA here. But refused any chance of fresh polls, insisting his victory last spring had been legitimate, the BBC reported.
Maduro said that if the US and others wanted a fresh vote, they would have to wait until 2025. He added that he was not prepared to accept ultimatums or blackmail, and insisted that he has the backing of Venezuela`s military, and accused deserters of conspiring to plot a coup.
Although he told RIA that he would support early parliamentary elections as "a good form of political discussion".
"Military deserters have become mercenaries of the Colombian oligarchy and conspire from Colombia to divide the armed forces," the President said, without providing further details. His comments came as new protests called by Opposition leader Juan Guaido began, the BBC said.
The opposition leader, who declared himself interim president last week, prompting an escalating power struggle, is head of Venezuela`s National Assembly. He has said that the Constitution allowed him to assume power temporarily when the President is deemed illegitimate.