Rome demands that a new presidential election be held in Venezuela because it believes that the 2018 victory of President Nicolas Maduro “lacked democratic legitimacy,” the Italian foreign minister Milanesi said on Tuesday.

“The government strongly demands that a new election be held as soon as possible. It should be transparent, free and credible elections, which should be held in [an atmosphere of] full democracy and justice with all the guarantees of the international community,” Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Milanesi said in the parliament’s lower house, while commenting on the Venezuelan crisis.

According to the minister, the presidential election lacked “democratic legitimacy” and the results, therefore, needed to be rechecked in terms of “correctness, lawfulness, and equality.”

Milanesi also condemned the violence and alleged human rights violations during protests in Venezuela, expressing concerns over the humanitarian situation in the country. He further noted that Italy had sent 2 million euros ($2.3 million) in assistance to the crisis-stricken country.

Italy, along with Ireland, Greece and Slovakia, earlier refused to follow other EU nations’ lead in recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president. Moreover, according to a Sputnik source, Italy vetoed an EU joint statement that was supposed to recognize Guaido. 

Tensions in Venezuela escalated when Guaido, the head of the opposition-led parliament, declared himself interim president on January 23, disputing Maduro’s re-election. Guaido’s declaration was almost immediately recognized by the United States and some of its allies. Russia, China, Mexico, Turkey and Uruguay have said that they consider Maduro to be Venezuela’s legitimate president and called for non-interference.

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