AP NEWS

Italy: New presidential election needed soon in Venezuela

February 12, 2019
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Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi delivers his speech at the parliament in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. Italy’s populist government wants elections soon in Venezuela but hasn’t joined EU allies in recognizing Juan Guaido as interim president. Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi told lawmakers Tuesday the Venezuelan vote that elected Nicolas Maduro wasn’t democratic. He said Italy is calling for “new democratic presidential elections soon” for Venezuela. (Giuseppe Lami/ANSA via AP)

ROME (AP) — Italy’s populist government is calling for elections soon in Venezuela but is stopping short of joining its European Union allies in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi, addressing lawmakers Tuesday, said his government wants “new presidential elections as soon as possible” in Venezuela. Moavero said the 2018 election was “invalidated in their correctness, fairness and legality,” leaving Nicolas Maduro without “democratic legitimacy” as president. Moavero said “free, transparent and credible” elections are needed.

Italy’s allies have pressed Rome to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader until elections can be held. A delegation representing Guaido lobbied Italy’s government and Vatican officials this week in Rome.

Italy’s senior governing party, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, has been strongly sympathetic to Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.