05/06/2012 09:30 EDT | Updated 07/06/2012 05:12 EDT

Harper congratulates France's new president-elect on Sunday's victory

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called France's new president-elect — Francois Hollande — to congratulate him on Sunday's election victory.

The prime minister's office says in a news release that Harper emphasized the shared values and deep historic, cultural and linguistic ties between Canada and France.

Harper also expressed Canada's desire to work closely with France on a full range of international issues.

Hollande, a Socialist, defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, an U.S.-friendly leader who led the country through its worst economic troubles since the Second World War but whose policies and personality proved too bitter for many voters to swallow.

Hollande inherits a country deep in debt and divided over how to integrate immigrants while preserving its national identity.

Sarkozy is the latest victim of a wave of voter anger over spending cuts in Europe that has ousted governments and leaders in the past couple of years.