Yemen's president has been re-elected to another seven-year term - although the opposition has rejected the result.

Election officials said Saturday that President Ali Abdullah Saleh garnered more than 77 percent of the vote from Wednesday's balloting. His main challenger, former oil minister Faisal bin Shamlan, received about 22 percent.

But an opposition spokesman called the election "illegal." He said some of the votes were forged.

Officials acknowledge some of the ballots were discarded because of voter irregularity.

European Union election monitors have called the elections an "open and genuine" political contest.

Mr. Saleh has ruled Yemen since 1978. He became the head of the Republic of Yemen when North and South Yemen formally merged in 1990.

Yemen has been a steady ally of the United States, and government forces have clashed with Islamic militants operating in the country.

Yemen is the ancestral home of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.


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