The Republic of Congo’s veteran president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, has been re-elected with 88.57 percent of the vote, according to provisional results released Tuesday. Sassou Nguesso, 77, has been in power for an accumulated 36 years, first taking the helm of the central African state in 1979. His landslide first-round victory, announced by the interior minister citing figures from the electoral commission, had been widely expected. Sunday’s ballot had been boycotted by the main opposition and overshadowed by the death from Covid of Sassou Nguesso’s only major rival, Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, 61, who reaped 7.84 percent of the vote. Turnout was put at 67.55 percent. One of the world’s longest-serving rulers, Sassou Nguesso has long been accused by critics of authoritarian rule and turning a blind eye to corruption, poverty and inequality despite the country’s oil wealth.