Republic of Congo leader Denis Sassou-Nguesso has won an overwhelming victory in Sunday's presidential race after his chief opponent pulled out.

Election officials announced Wednesday that the president had captured about 89 percent of the vote.

Mr. Sassou-Nguesso ran largely unopposed after the other leading contender, Andre Milongo, withdrew from the election citing what he said was a lack of openness in the poll.

However, international observers say the election was carried out in a calm and peaceful manner. Officials say the turnout among the one-point-seven million registered voters in Congo-Brazzaville was about 75 percent.

The victory gives Mr. Sassou-Nguesso another seven years in office.

Mr. Sassou-Nguesso first seized power in 1979 in a popular revolt and ruled the country until losing a democratic election in 1992. He reclaimed the presidency in 1997 after his forces won a civil war against followers of then-President Pascal Lissouba.

Many people credit Mr. Sassou-Nguesso with consolidating peace in Congo, an oil-rich nation of about three million people.

Legislative and local elections are scheduled for later this year.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.