Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has proposed holding early elections for the National Assembly on a day when a senior air force general defected to the opposition.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president, says aid will be arriving in the country.
Mr Maduro’s remarks to his supporters appeared to be an effort to outmanoeuvre the opposition that is trying to use its control of the legislature to challenge his rule.
Mr Maduro it would be up to the pro-government constitutional assembly to decide whether or not to back his proposal.
Elections for the opposition-controlled National Assembly are not supposed to take place again until 2020.
National Assembly President Mr Guaido is leading a charge to force Mr Maduro from power after he took the oath of office last month for a second, six-year term widely considered illegitimate.
Mr Guaido has said humanitarian assistance will begin flowing into the crisis-wracked country within the next few days, despite the objections of Mr Maduro.
Mr Guaido made the announcement on Saturday speaking before tens of thousands of cheering supporters who took to the streets of Caracas demanding that Mr Maduro step down.
Mr Guaido said supplies of badly needed food and medicine will start entering from the Colombian border town of Cucuta.
He said assistance will also come from two more unnamed entry points.
Loyalists of Mr Maduro’s socialist government flooded the streets in a different part of the capital to celebrate 20 years since Hugo Chavez launched the Bolivarian revolution.
Earlier, an air force general defected from the administration of Mr Maduro and called on his compatriots to participate in protests against the socialist leader’s rule.
General Francisco Yanez is the first high ranking officer to leave Mr Maduro’s government since January 23, when Mr Guaido declared himself the country’s legitimate leader.
Many foreign leaders, including US President Donald Trump, have recognised Mr Guaido as interim president but others, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, have cautioned against regime change.
In a YouTube video, Gen Yanez said: “The transition to democracy is imminent.”
He described Mr Maduro as a dictator and referred to Mr Guaido as his president, but refused to say whether he is still in Venezuela or has left the country.
The officer later confirmed he would not give further statements until given authorisation by “the commander-in-chief of the legal armed force which is President Juan Guaido”.