Nicolas Maduro
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures while he speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, VenezuelaCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro favours Senator Bernie Sanders as the next US president. He said during a television broadcast: "Bernie Sanders, our revolutionary friend, ought to win in the United States... If elections were free, Sanders would be president of the United States."

Maduro criticised the presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump saying he might win because of the "flawed" electoral system in the US, Reuters reported.

"Donald Trump could win with the electoral system they have in the United States. And you know why? Because Donald Trump is using a force for change hidden in US society," Maduro said.

In March, Maduro announced his endorsement of Sanders after the senator from Vermont expressed his support to various Latin American governments.

Sanders is lagging behind former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the contest to secure the Democratic nomination for the US presidential race that will take place on 8 November.

Earlier, Sanders had described late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as a "dead communist dictator". Maduro, who idolises Chavez, took over as president in 2013.

Since 1999, when Chavez came to power, relations between the US and Venezuela have been marked by acrimony, with the Opec nation regularly blaming Washington for its economic woes. President Barack Obama had even declared Venezuela a national security threat in March 2015. The two countries have not exchanged ambassadors for over five years.

Maduro is resisting protests seeking his resignation. Amid the oil slump, Venezuela is facing acute shortages of essential items. Crippling power cuts have worsened the situation. Many businesses have shut down as import of raw materials has become difficult because of dwindling dollar reserves.