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Édouard Fritch (born January 4, 1952 in Papeete, Tahiti) is French Polynesian politician and since September 2014 is president of French Polynesia. Previously he has served as the Speaker of the Assembly of French Polynesia from April 12, 2007 to February 2008, and from February to April 2009. Fritch is co-President of Tahoeraa Huiraatira, a pro-French political party.
He served as minister in Polynesian government several times from 1984 to 2011. From 1995 to 2005, and again from 2009 to 2011, he was vice-president of the government.
2008 Legislative Election
The French Polynesian legislative election, 2008 took place on January 27, 2008, and February 10, 2008. The pro-French political of former President Gaston Tong Sang, O Porinetia To Tatou Ai'a, secured 27 of the 57 seats in the new French Polynesian Assembly. Fritch's Tahoeraa Huiraatira party won 10 seats.
Negotiations between Fritch and Tong Sang reportedly broke down earlier in the week of February 17. Tong Sang said that he was prepared to offer Fritch's Tahoeraa Huiraatira party the Speaker of the Assembly, as well as 4 of the 15 ministerial posts, should he form a new government. Fritch refused Tong Sang's offer, saying that he wanted no less than five ministerial positions.
However, the two sides finally reached an eleventh-hour deal between Tong Sang's O Porinetia To Tatou Ai'a party and the Tahoeraa Huiraatira to form a new pro-French coalition in the Assembly. On Thursday, February 21, 2008, Tong Sang announced that he had offered Fritch's Tahoeraa Huiraatira five ministerial positions, which Fritch had wanted, plus the Speakership of the Assembly and the chairmanships of three parliamentary committees.
Edouard Fritch was re-elected as the Speaker of the Assembly inaugural sitting of the new 2008 legislative assembly following the political deal. Fritch was re-elected with a total of 36 votes while pro-independence candidate Antony Géros came in second with 21 votes. His re-election was broadcast live on French Polynesian television and radio.
2009 Presidential election
Fritch stood as a candidate for President of French Polynesia for the Tahoera'a Huiraatira party in the 2009 French Polynesian presidential election. However, he failed to garner enough votes, coming in third place to Oscar Temaru.
Fritch was once again elected as the Speaker (President) of the Assembly of French Polynesia on February 12, 2009. His election as Speaker was part of the coalition agreement which allowed Oscar Temaru to be elected president the day before. Fritch was elected with the support of 38 of the 57 members of the Assembly.
On April 9, 2009, a second election was held for Speaker (President) of Parliament, following a reshuffling of the government. Former President Gaston Tong Sang had moved to join the ruling coalition of President Oscar Temaru. Fritch initially resisted calls for a new speaker election, saying that his position was necessary for the current April 9 Assembly session. However, a new election was held following legal advice from the French Council of State in Paris.
Fritch was defeated by Philip Schyle in the Speakers election on Thursday morning, April 9, 2009. Schyle, a member of the O Porinetia To Tatou Ai'a, received 40 votes, while Fritch garnered obtained just 14 votes. One Assembly member did not vote and there were two blank ballots. Schyle immediately became the new Speaker.
In a speech following his ouster as Speaker, Fritch expressed "disappointment" that the UPLD-Tahoeraa political alliance was in trouble. He called the timing of the election unfortunate "in a time of economic crisis." He also accused the new alliance between President Temaru and former President Gaston Tong Sang as being inspired by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
2012 French legislative elections
Edouard Fritch was elected on 16 June 2012 as member of the National Assembly of France in the 1st constituency of French Polynesia. He seats in the Union for Democrats and Independents group in the National Assembly, chaired by former minister Jean-Louis Borloo.
- "Fritch Re-elected Speaker of French Polynesia's Legislative Assembly". Ocean Flash (Pacific Magazine). 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "Fritch becomes Speaker in French Polynesia". Radio New Zealand International. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- Hermès N° 32-33 : La France et les outre-mers. L'enjeu multiculturel ed. Tamatoa Bambridge - Page 517 - 2002 "Édouard Fritch, du Tahoeraa Huiraatira (parti présidé par M. Flosse, président du gouvernement actuel), par exemple, rappelle : « Nous disons les Polynésiens d'abord, c'est notre mot d' ordre sur ce sujet »9."
- Liste, par ordre alphabétique et par départements France. Parlement (1946- ). Assemblée nationale - 1986 Page 65 "... Jean Foyer, Édouard Fritch, Robert Galley, Henri de Gastines, ..."
- Sarah Netter L'état des régions françaises 2002 Page 247 "... vice-président : Édouard Fritch."
- Séverine Tessier Polynésie, les copains d'abord: l'autre système Chirac? 2005 Page 40 "... qu'il [Gaston Flosse] distribue comme s'il s'agissait de son argent. ... Le secrétaire général du parti, Édouard Fritch, gendre de Gaston Flosse ..."
- Jean-Marc Regnault - Le pouvoir confisqué en Polynésie française 2005 -Page 100 "Le lundi soir encore Gaston Flosse n'aurait pas su qu'il déposerait cette motion le lendemain déclarent Jean-Christophe Bouissou sur les ondes de RFO le jeudi 6 octobre et encore Édouard Fritch sur la chaîne TNTV le 17 octobre.
- "Edouard Fritch re-elected as French Polynesia assembly president". Radio New Zealand International. 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "Schyle elected French Polynesia Assembly speaker". Tahitpresse. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-10.[dead link]
|President of French Polynesia