The French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th century. In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing on the Mururoa atoll after a three-year moratorium. The tests were halted in January 1996. In recent years, French Polynesia's autonomy has been considerably expanded.
includes five archipelagoes: four volcanic (Iles Gambier, Iles Marquises, Iles Tubuai, Society Islands) and one coral (Archipel des Tuamotu); Makatea in French Polynesia is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Nauru
none (overseas lands of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are five second order administrative units named Iles Australes, Iles du Vent, Iles Marquises, Iles Sous le Vent, Iles Tuamotu et Gambier
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 French Polynesia government and the president of the Assembly of French Polynesia elected by the members of the assembly for five-year terms (no term limits)
unicameral Assembly of French Polynesia or Assemblee de la Polynesia francaise (57 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
last held on 21 April 2013 (first round) and 5 May 2013 (second round) (next to be held in 2018)
percent of vote by party - Popular Rally 45.1%, Union for Democracy alliance 29.3%, A Tia Porinetia 25.6%, other 15.8%; seats by party - Popular Rally 38, Union for Democracy alliance 11, A Tia Porinetia 8
note:two seats were elected to the French Senate on 21 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1, independent 1; three seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 17 June 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 3
two red horizontal bands encase a wide white band in a 1:2:1 ratio; centered on the white band is a disk with a blue and white wave pattern depicting the sea on the lower half and a gold and white ray pattern depicting the sun on the upper half; a Polynesian canoe rides on the wave pattern; the canoe has a crew of five represented by five stars that symbolize the five island groups; red and white are traditional Polynesian colors
note:similar to the red-white-red flag of Tahiti, the largest of the islands in French Polynesia, which has no emblem in the white band; the flag of France is used for official occasions
under certain acts of France, French Polynesia has acquired autonomy in all areas except those relating to police and justice, monetary policy, tertiary education, immigration, and defense and foreign affairs; the duties of its president are fashioned after those of the French prime minister
Since 1962, when France stationed military personnel in the region, French Polynesia has changed from a subsistence agricultural 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 handicrafts, public works projects, aquaculture, pearl farming and deep-sea commercial fishing. The small manufacturing sector primarily processes agricultural products. The territory benefits substantially from development agreements with France aimed principally at creating new businesses and strengthening social services.
the publicly owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts on 2 TV channels and 1 radio station; 1 government-owned TV station; a small number of privately owned radio stations (2008)