The newly elected president of Central African Republic has vowed to unite the country while thanking his opponent for conceding defeat in a runoff vote.

Faustin Archange Touadera, a former prime minister, was declared the winner of the Feb. 14 runoff on Saturday night, having garnered nearly 63 percent of the vote. His rival, Anicet Georges Dologuele, promptly acknowledged his defeat though he expressed concern about irregularities.

Many hope the vote will strengthen a tentative peace after more than two years of sectarian fighting left untold thousands dead and forced nearly 500,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.

In his first remarks since the results were announced, Touadera said Sunday he would bring together people from all regions and religions to make Central African Republic "united, cohesive and prosperous."