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Kerry Publicly Concedes US Presidential Race

Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry has conceded the U.S. presidential race to President Bush, giving the Republican Party leader a second four-year term after a tightly contested election.

In a concession speech in his hometown of Boston, Senator Kerry called on Americans to unite, saying "we are required to work together for the good of our country."

He said with U.S. troops in harm's way, Americans must stand together to "succeed in Iraq" and win the war against terrorism.

Showing obvious emotion, Mr. Kerry thanked his supporters and told them an election will come when their ballots will change the world.

President Bush is scheduled to make what the White House calls a "brief statement" a short time from now.

Mr. Kerry's concession averts what many felt could be a repeat of the long-delayed results of the election that brought Mr. Bush his first term four years ago.

Nearly complete results from Tuesday's election show Mr. Bush leading Mr. Kerry in the popular vote by 51 to 48%, or about 3.5 million votes. The President is the first candidate to win a majority of the popular vote since his father, George H.W. Bush, did in 1988.

A dispute about the outcome of the vote in Ohio caused the delay in Mr. Kerry's concession. President Bush is ahead by about 140,000 popular votes in Ohio. But an estimated 150,000 to 250,000 votes there remain to be counted, and the Kerry campaign had said it wanted every ballot counted.

Voter turnout was heavy after a long and heated campaign focused on the war on terrorism, Iraq and the economy. But many exit polls suggest Bush supporters were swayed by the president's stance on what were termed "moral issues," including a ban on gay marriage and opposition to stem cell research.