Republic of Congo's interior minister has affirmed provisional results showing longtime President Denis Sassou N'Guesso won re-election.

Election officials provided the results to journalists earlier this week, but Interior Minister Raymond Zephirin Mboulou waited until just after 3 a.m. on Thursday to announce them to the nation on state television. They must now be validated by the Constitutional Court.

Mboulou said Sassou N'Guesso scored a first-round win, taking 60.4 percent of the vote.

Sunday's poll came five months after a constitutional referendum removed term and age limits that would have barred the 72-year-old leader from running.

The run-up to the October referendum featured clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces, though the recent election period was calm.

Sassou N'Guesso said Thursday the outcome reflected "the real will of the people."