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Juan Guaido barred from public office for 15 years

March 28, 2019

Venezuela's auditor general has stripped the country's opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaido of holding public posts. Guaido said there was a good reason to ignore the order.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, gestures as he speaks during a meeting with political leaders in Caracas, Venezuela, March 27, 2019
Image: Reuters/I. Alvarado

Venezuela's opposition leader and self-declared president, Juan Guaido, cannot hold public office for 15 years, the country's auditor general said Thursday.

"[Guaido] has carried out public duties that were not accorded to him and committed acts together with foreign governments that have harmed the Venezuelan people," Auditor General Elvis Amoroso said.

Amoroso, a close ally of President Nicolas Maduro, also cited alleged irregularities in Guaido's personal financial disclosures and his spending records for the decision.

Read more: Venezuela's Juan Guaido: Who is the interim president?

Guaido swiftly dismissed the order. "The only body that can appoint a auditor general is the legitimate parliament," he said, referring to the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The 15-year sentence is the maximum penalty for public servants who commit irregularities.

Guaido: 'Time is running out for Maduro'

Guaido's struggle

Amoroso launched an audit of Guaido in February after accusing him of lying on his financial disclosures and receiving funds from illegitimate sources.

The 35-year-old opposition leader has tried to build popular support in favor of Maduro's removal since he declared himself president in late January.

Speaking to supporters on Thursday, Guaido called on people to attend another round of protests on Saturday.

The presidential standoff has sparked international tensions. Some countries such as the United States and Germany recognize Guaido's claim, while others such as Russia and China back Maduro.

Read more: What's at stake for Russia in Venezuela?

amp/jm (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)

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