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17th anniversary of the Internal Autonomy
The Autonomy in French Polynesia is seventeen years old. Seventeen years old is almost the age of the legal majority every young citizen longs for to freely express their aspirations and dreams. Seventeen years old is also the age one may have utopian views they believe easily attainable. The candles of this anniversary had to be lit to celebrate the women and men who gave this new concept the shape of reality.
The concept is a simple one: in politics, decisions must be made as close as possible to the people. It means than decisions involving a region or a territory have to be made at the level of their institutions and not in a distant central government body (Paris) as it was the case before.

However, autonomy is not independence. Obviously a territory such as French Polynesia, with its 250 000 inhabitants, can hardly claim to be given its own defense system or its own currency. In the various fields of foreign diplomacy, defence, justice, citizenship, higher education and monetary policy, French Polynesia acknowledges the leadership of the French State Government.

Because of autonomy, the bilingual system has been legalized as a factor of cultural enrichment and as an economic asset.

It cannot be denied that the autonomy has enabled French Polynesia to secure, in cooperation with France, the basis for a sustainable development all the Polynesian citizens may witness everyday.

Beyond the success of a statute inaugurated in 1984, and reorganized according to the organic law n° 96-312 dated April 12th, at the instigation of Mr. Gaston FLOSSE, the President of the Government of French Polynesia, the Office des Postes et Télécommunications of French Polynesia (the Post Office Public Company) wanted to put a landmark on the long way yet to be travelled so that the autonomy eventually fits the great design imaginated by precursors such as Pouvana'a A O'opa, Francis SANFORD and John TEARIKI. This stamp will fix in the memories of the stamp collectors around the world the idea one may have of a well conceived autonomy. It is the link which, beyond the oceans, seals an unfailing friendship between peoples bound to get along with, understand and respect each other. The autonomy is the pride of our country and of all the Polynesians.


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