French officials have reported a third night of small-scale violence after the election of conservative Nicolas Sarkozy as president.

The head of the defeated French Socialist Party, Francois Hollande, appealed for calm Tuesday, saying the only way to react to anger, disappointment and frustration is through the ballot box.

France will hold legislative elections next month that will determine whether Mr. Sarkozy will have the parliamentary majority needed to push through his programs.

On Sunday and Monday, hundreds of demonstrators smashed windows, burned cars, and fought riot police in several of France's major cities. Police arrested more than 700 protesters.

Also on Tuesday, Russia's president Vladimir Putin called to congratulate Mr. Sarkozy. Mr. Putin said he hoped the president-elect would further strengthen what Mr. Putin called the high level of trust and mutual understanding between the two countries.

Mr. Sarkozy, who takes office May 16, is vacationing on a yacht off Malta. Some opposition politicians have criticized him for taking what they say is an expensive trip at odds with his campaign for economic reform.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP .