Paris, Jan 27 (AFP) French President Emmanuel Macron today called for harsher European sanctions against Venezuela and urged the South American country’s trading partners to follow suit in a bid to increase pressure on the regime of Nicolas Maduro. Also Read - France Makes Menstrual Products Free For Students: Here’s How Other Countries Fight Period Poverty

Following a court decision to exclude the Venezuelan opposition from upcoming presidential elections in April, Macron denounced the “unacceptable authoritarian slide” of the oil-rich and once prosperous country. Also Read - Indian Restaurant in UK Attempts to Send Samosa Into Space, it Crash-lands in France

“It will be at the European level that we will coordinate to see if we want to increase our sanctions. I am in favour,” he told a press conference with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. Also Read - ‘Disgraceful Act’: Here’s How Global Political Leaders Reacted to US Capitol Riot That Left 4 Dead

He said that individual European sanctions against Venezuelans linked to the Maduro regime had had a “limited impact”.

“I hope that other countries which share our values and our attachment to human rights, and obviously have much closer economic links, can also introduce effective sanctions,” he added in an apparent message to other Latin American countries.

Argentina’s Macri also condemned the “unacceptable authoritarian slide” of Venezuela under Maduro and called for “transparent elections”, adding: “It has not been a democracy for some time.”

The Venezuelan Supreme Court decision today effectively cleared the way for Maduro to win another term in April.

The court, seen as being stacked with Maduro loyalists, issued a ruling that means the MUD opposition will be unable to register before the vote, which has been brought forward to April 30 at the latest.

Since taking power last May, French President Emmanuel Macron has been an outspoken critic of Maduro, the hand-picked successor to longtime Venezuelan strongman and socialist Hugo Chavez.

“A dictatorship is trying to survive at an unprecedented humanitarian cost,” Macron said in his first major foreign policy speech in August. (AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.