Argentina 'Will Not Recognize Venezuela Election': Macri
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Argentina will not recognize the results of upcoming elections in Venezuela, President Mauricio Macri has told AFP, accusing strongman Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro of running a "dictatorship".
Venezuela's top court last week excluded the main opposition coalition from contesting the presidential election, smoothing the way for Maduro to be returned as leader of a once prosperous country mired in political and economic chaos.
The court's decision is the latest twist in a months-long standoff between Maduro — late socialist leader's Hugo Chavez's handpicked successor — and the opposition, AFP reported.
No date has been set for the vote but it is to be held before April 30.
"Argentina will not recognize this election," the centre-right Macri told AFP in an interview in Paris on Saturday, a day after talks with President Emmanuel Macron.
"Maduro is making a mockery of the region and the entire world," he said.
After "generating hope" by allowing the Dominican Republic and other Latin American nations mediate in the crisis, "the only thing he has done is continue trampling human rights," Macri added.
On Friday, Macron denounced Venezuela's "unacceptable authoritarian slide" and said he backed increased EU sanctions against the oil-rich state — remarks that Caracas termed a "hostile and unfriendly act".
Regional heavyweights Brazil and Argentina have been reluctant to follow the United States and European Union down the path of sanctions, saying they fear the hard-pressed Venezuelan people would suffer the most.
Macri said however that he was prepared to "continue studying the question".