Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today labelled elections in the US as a "battleground for the capitalists" following Barack Obama's re-election as president.
An estimated USD 6 billion was spent in US federal races, making the 2012 general election the most expensive poll in American history, experts said.
Speaking on the opening day of the Bali Democracy Forum, a day after Obama was elected for a second term, Ahmadinejad said: "Just take a look at the situation in Europe and the US.
"An election, which is one of the manifestations of the people's will, has become a battleground for the capitalists, and an excuse for hefty spending."
Ahmadinejad, who did not comment directly on Obama's re-election, also criticised "countries who claim to be the forerunners of democracy".
"Slavery, colonialism and rights abuses continue to be imposed on human beings," he said.
Ahmadinejad, re-elected Iranian president in 2009 in a vote marred by allegations of fraud, is attending the Bali Democracy Forum for the first time.
But critics have said that Tehran will use the meeting, which is being held for the fifth time, to try and end its growing isolation as sanctions over its nuclear programme bite.
A host of world leaders including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Afghan President Hamid Karzai are also attending the forum.