25 Jul 2008

Kapiliele Faupala crowned new king of Wallis

2:35 pm on 25 July 2008

The new king of Wallis, Kapiliele Faupala, has been crowned in Mata'utu in a ceremony attended by about 2,000 people.

The new king was chosen earlier this month by members from the traditional council of ministers.

His crowning, which was broadcast live on television, follows celebrations and ceremonies.

The new king has assumes the title Lavelua previously held by his predecessors.

Kapiliele Faupala succeeds Tomasi Kulimoetoke who died last year after 48 years in power and who signed a deal with Paris in 1961 to make the island a French overseas territory.

For the past four years, the 68-year-old king had been heading the Customary Council of Ministers which is recognised by the colonial power France.

Today's events were also attended by a significant delegation from New Caledonia where now more Wallisians live than in their home island.

The coronation comes amid clan rivalries which in 2005 led to an unsuccesful atttempt to dislodge the then king.