OFFICIAL URGES STABILITY IN FRENCH POLYNESIA

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Outgoing commissioner witnessed five changes of government

By Patrick Antoine Decloitre

SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, July 1, 2008) – Political stability is an absolute necessity to French Polynesia's development, said at the weekend outgoing French High commissioner Anne Boquet, who left the French Pacific territory after three years of posting, during which she had seen five successive governments and three Presidents come and go as a result of motions of no confidence and party-hopping

Boquet, who was also France's first female High commissioner in French Polynesia, was last month appointed Prefect for the metropolitan department of the Yvelines (Paris region), was also late last week decorated Commander in the Order of Tahiti Nui, French Polynesia's highest honour.

Speaking to local media hours before her departure, she took the opportunity to stress that the onus of political stability was, above all, on the local political class.

"It must absolutely create a more positive climate of confidence for things to move ahead", she said. "But I'm confident, this is a strong people, even though the climate is not always easy … But history has proved they have always been capable of getting out of all sorts of situations. I'm confident and I call on (French Polynesians) to have faith in themselves too", she said.

She said the future of French Polynesia mainly relied on the youth.

"I also want to call on Young Polynesians to have faith too. They make up fifty percent of the population and they must be aware that whatever the situation may be, the (French) State will go on helping them. Because the State is a friend, a partner on which they can rely", she said.

Speaking during her medal award ceremony late last week, French Polynesia's current President, Gaston Tong Sang, hailed Boquet's term and her action in "restoring dialogue" between French Polynesia and metropolitan France.

Boquet's successor, Adolphe Colrat, was appointed last month by the French government.

Mr Colrat has been the Head of political, administrative and financial affairs at the French ministry for overseas territories for the past two years.

He was previously the French Prefect in the Ardennes region (North-East of France) between 2004 and 2006.

A graduate from the prestigious French National Administration School (ENA), Mr Colrat held previous positions in the French overseas department of La Réunion (Indian Ocean), as well as head of civil protection at the Prefecture of the French capital Paris (April 2001-February 2004).

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