While initial reaction to the voting process was positive, there were some reports of minor irregularities
UN troops stood guard over the main vote-counting centre in Bangui on Thursday after a peaceful election in the Central African Republic aimed at turning the page on years of inter-religious violence.
While initial reaction to the voting process was positive, there were some reports of minor irregularities and the national electoral commission, admitting a number of "logistical difficulties", urged candidates to use legal means to address any grievances.
How the country dealt with any contentious issues "would be particularly important for the credibility of the elections", the European Union said in a statement.
In a sign of the ongoing tense security situation, the government issued a statement banning fireworks and celebratory gunfire in the capital Bangui on New Year's Eve.
Voters had turned out in large numbers for Wednesday's oft-delayed presidential and parliamentary elections, which went off without major incident and were hailed as "a success" by the head of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga.
UN forces operating in the deeply poor country alongside French troops helped to ensure that polling stations stayed open late into the night so people could vote.
The EU noted that the bloodless voting "bore testament to Central Africans' determination to take charge of the destiny of their country".
But the country may have to wait at least a week to learn the outcome of the election, which residents hope will restore stability after more than two years of brutal conflict.
Three men who have all held high political office in previous governments are considered the frontrunners in the 30-strong presidential race,including ex-premiers Martin Ziguele and Anicet Georges Dologuele.
Senegalese UN peacekeeping forces stand guard as people wait to vote at a polling station during presidential and legislatives elections in the streets of the Muslim PK-5 district of Bangui on December 30, 2015.