Asia

French Polynesia profile - Leaders

  • 17 March 2015
  • From the section Asia

Head of state: The president of France, represented by a high commissioner

President: Edouard Fritch

Edouard Fritch became president of French Polynesia in September 2014 after his predecessor, veteran politician Gaston Flosse, was forced to resign over a conviction for corruption.

Mr Flosse stepped aside after failing to secure a pardon from President Francois Hollande over the conviction, which was upheld by France's highest court in August.

Mr Flosse was convicted for running a vast network of phantom jobs to support his political party in one of the biggest cases of its kind in French legal history. He was sentenced to a four-year suspended jail term, a large fine, and banned from public office for three years.

Edouard Fritch is number two in the governing Tahoeraa Huiraatira party which Mr Flosse still heads. He has served several times as a minister and was formerly Speaker of the French Polynesia assembly.

In February 2015, the two leaders held their first meeting in five months in a bid to heal an unprecedented rift within the ruling party. Earlier in November 2014, Mr Flosse won opposition support within the assembly for a motion demanding France pay compensation for the environmental damage caused by its nuclear weapons tests but Mr Fritch's supporters boycotted the vote.

French Polynesia has a 57-member assembly which is elected every five years. The president is elected from the assembly. France retains responsibility for foreign affairs, defence, justice and security.

The territory is represented in the French parliament by two deputies and a senator. It is represented at the European Parliament.

Image caption Former president Gaston Flosse was forced to quit