The president of Chad says his re-election is a victory for the Chadian people.

President Idriss Deby spoke late Sunday, shortly after election officials confirmed his win in the May third vote. He added that the result is a rebuttal to those critics who predicted Chad would, in his words, "explode" after rebel attacks in April.

Officials said Mr. Deby won more than 77 percent of the vote, giving him a third term in office.

African observers said the May 3 vote was "free, transparent and fair," a judgment that reportedly surprised Western diplomats and journalists. Election officials said voter turnout was above 70 percent. This year's election pitted him against four allies, leading Chad's opposition parties to boycott the vote.

President Deby is a former army chief who seized power in 1990 and won disputed elections in 1996 and 2001. Last year he helped pass a constitutional referendum that allowed him to run for a third time.

On election day, a VOA journalist said the the streets of the capital, N'djamena, were largely deserted, and many polling stations in the city remained empty throughout the day.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.