, NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Nov 8 – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Thursday dismissed US elections as a “battleground for the capitalists”, a day after Barack Obama’s re-election.
Ahmadinejad, whose own 2009 disputed re-election sparked protests that were brutally crushed, told a forum in Bali island intended to promote democracy that the Western system meant only the wealthy few held power.
At the start of the two-day Bali Democracy Forum, attended by leaders including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Iranian president criticised 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,” he said.
An estimated $6 billion was spent in US federal races, making the 2012 general election the most expensive poll in American history, experts have said.
Ahmadinejad, who did not comment directly on Obama’s victory over his Republican rival Mitt Romney, added that “democracy has turned into the rule of a minority over the majority”.
He said problems continued “even in countries who claim to be the forerunners of democracy”.
“Slavery, colonialism and rights abuses continue to be imposed on human beings,” he said, without singling out any countries in particular for criticism.
Iran is regularly criticised for its own human rights record, such as the high number of executions.
The president, whose country’s disputed nuclear programme has led to crippling international sanctions, made only passing reference to nuclear activities.