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Wallis Awaits Move to Elect New King



the late King Tomasi Kulimoetoke

Washington D.C. (November 6, 2007) – In Wallis and New Caledonia, ceremonies have been held to mark the end of six weeks of mourning for the late King Tomasi Kulimoetoke. The late lavelua, or king, passed away in May at age 88.

Tomasi Kulimoetoke was chosen as king in 1959 and two years later signed a pact with France to make Wallis and Futuna a French Overseas Territory. Two years ago, rival clans with the backing of France tried to replace the king, but his supporters staged a successful armed rebellion to keep him in power, according to Radio New Zealand International.

The traditional chief minister said at the king's funeral that clans on the island would observe a six-month mourning period, during which it would be taboo to mention the highly sensitive topic of a successor.

No successor has been chosen and media reports say it's unclear when a replacement will be elected.