Madrid, Jan 31 (AFP) Venezuela’s self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido ruled out the possibility of civil war in his country, saying the overwhelming majority of his compatriots wanted Nicolas Maduro to step down. Also Read - Joe Biden to Take Oath as 46th US President Today Amid Tight Security, Donald Trump to Skip Inauguration

In an interview to Spain’s El Pais newspaper published Thursday, Guaido repeated an appeal to Venezuela’s armed forces to take his side. Also Read - 'Bengal Maango Toh Cheer Denge': TMC's Madan Mitra Issues Violent Threat To BJP

“The risk of a civil war in Venezuela does not exist, despite what certain people want to believe or want to let us believe. Why? Because 90 per cent of the population wants a change,” he said. Also Read - Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju To Look After Ayush Ministry Till Shripad Naik Recovers

But there was “a risk of violence” from Maduro’s government, which he said used specialised police forces and “paramilitaries” to quash opponents.

“They have killed dozens of youths in one week. Over 140 in 2017,” he said.

Guiado, the head of Venezuela’s congress, proclaimed himself interim president on January 23, saying the constitution entitled him to serve as chief of state because Maduro’s re-election last May was invalid as his strongest opponents were barred from running.

“I am convinced that at a certain moment…the army will end up manifesting its discontent, and take this opportunity to stand on the side of the constitution. And not only because we propose an amnesty,” he said.

Guaido has been recognised as Venezuela’s president by the United States and several Latin American countries.

Six European Union nations — Spain, France, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and Portugal — have said they will also recognise him as president unless Maduro calls fresh presidential elections by Sunday. (AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.