Salvini calls Maduro a criminal, urges early elections in Venezuela

POLITICS
Salvini calls Maduro a criminal, urges early elections in Venezuela

Bloomberg photo by Carlos Becerra

Venezuela's leftist president Nicolas Maduro is breaking the law, Italy's far-right interior minister and deputy premier Matteo Salvini on Tuesday, calling for "free, democratic polls as soon as possible".


"Maduro is a criminal, he starves, imprisons and tortures his people. I hope there will be free, democratic polls as soon as possible," Salvini said.

"I am close to the millions of Italians and descendants of Italians who live, struggle for survival and suffer in Venezuela," Salvini added.

Italy's populist has stopped short of recognising Venezuela's opposition-held National Assembly's leader Juan Guaido as interim president and is said to have blocked a European Union resolution supporting him on Thursday at an informal meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in Bucharest.

Salvini's League party is the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement's junior partner in the ruling coalition and 5 Star has declared that it's not "for the EU to tell another nation what to do".

So far more than half of the EU states have declared recognition of Guaido as interim leader, including the UK, France, Germany and Spain, and Guaido on Monday urged Italy to follow suite.

Maduro defiantly rejected a Sunday deadline set by several EU states to call fresh elections and denounced Guaido's move as a coup.

Venezuela's contested May 2018 presidential elections were marred by an opposition boycott and allegations of vote-rigging which triggered large protests in Venezuela amid a protracted economic crisis that has driven over million people from the country.



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