Territory of French Polynesia

Territoire de la Polynesie Francaise

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Bob Starkgraf


Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of French Polynesia
conventional short form: French Polynesia
local short form: Polynesie Francaise
local long form: Territoire de la Polynesie Francaise
former: French Colony of Oceania
Dependency status:
overseas territory of France since 1946
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 5 archipelagic divisions named Archipel des Marquises, Archipel des Tuamotu, Archipel des Tubuai, Iles du Vent, and Iles Sous-le-Vent
note: Clipperton Island is administered by France from French Polynesia
none (overseas territory of France)
National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
28 September 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:
based on French system
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France (since 17 May 1995), represented by High Commissioner of the Republic Michel MATHIEU (since 24 October 2001)
head of government: President of the Territorial Government of French Polynesia Gaston FLOSSE (since 4 April 1991); President of the Territorial Assembly Lucette TAERO (since 17 May 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; president submits a list of members of the Territorial Assembly for approval by them to serve as ministers
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the Territorial Government and the president of the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly
Legislative branch:
unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale (49 seats - changed from 41 seats for May 2001 election; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 6 May 2001 (next to be held NA May 2006)
note: one seat was elected to the French Senate on NA September 1998 (next to be held NA September 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; two seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 9 June-16 June 2002 (next to be held NA 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - UMP/RPR 1, UMP 1
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - People's Rally for the Republic (Gaullist) 28, Independent Front for the Liberation of Polynesia 13, New Fatherland Party 7, other 1
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Court of the First Instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Administrative Law or Tribunal Administratif
Political parties and leaders:
Independent Front for the Liberation of Polynesia (Tavini Huiraatira) [Oscar TEMARU]; New Fatherland Party (Ai'a Api) [Emile VERNAUDON]; People's Rally for the Republic of Polynesia or RPR (Tahoeraa Huiraatira) [Gaston FLOSSE]; The New Star (Te Fetia Api) [Boris LEONTIEFF]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
ESCAP (associate), FZ, ICFTU, SPC, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of France)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of France)
Flag description:
two narrow red horizontal bands encase a wide white band; centered on the white band is a disk with blue and white wave pattern on the lower half and gold and white ray pattern on the upper half; a stylized red, blue and white ship rides on the wave pattern; the French flag is used for official occasions


Economy - overview:
Since 1962, when France stationed military personnel in the region, French Polynesia has changed from a subsistence economy to one in which a high proportion of the work force is either employed by the military or supports the tourist industry. With the halt of French nuclear testing in 1996, the military contribution to the economy fell sharply. Tourism accounts for about one-fourth of GDP and is a primary source of hard currency earnings. Other sources of income are pearl farming and deep-sea commercial fishing. The small manufacturing sector primarily processes agricultural products. The territory substantially benefits from development agreements with France aimed principally at creating new businesses and strengthening social services.
purchasing power parity - $1.3 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $5,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 18%
services: 76% (1997)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.5% (1994)
Labor force:
70,000 (1996) (1996)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 13%, industry 19%, services 68% (1997) (1997)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $1 billion
expenditures: $900 million, including capital expenditures of $185 million (1996) (1996)
tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
408 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 54%
hydro: 46%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
379.44 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits; poultry, beef, dairy products
$205 million f.o.b. (1999)
Exports - commodities:
cultured pearls 50%, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat (1997)
Exports - partners:
Japan 62%, US 21% (1999)
$749 million f.o.b. (1999)
Imports - commodities:
fuels, foodstuffs, equipment
Imports - partners:
France 53%, US 13%, Australia 10% (1999)
Debt - external:
Economic aid - recipient:
$367 million (1997) (1997)
Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (XPF); note - may adopt the euro in 2003
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar - 135.04 (January 2002), 133.26 (2001), 129.44 (2000), 111.93 (1999), 107.25 (1998), 106.11 (1997); note - pegged at the rate of 119.25 XPF to the euro
Fiscal year:
calendar year