10 May 2016

End in sight for Wallis royal standoff

3:00 pm on 10 May 2016

New Caledonia's public broadcaster says the crisis in Wallis and Futuna triggered by the installation of two rival kings may be resolved within days.

Mata'Utu cathedral next to the Sagato Soane Palace.

Mata'Utu cathedral next to the Sagato Soane Palace. Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

The French prefect has so far refused to recognise any of the new monarchs and appealed to both camps to observe the law.

Three weeks ago, Tominiko Halagahu was made the new king but a rival council of chiefs enthroned Patalione Kanimoa two days later to fill a two-year vacancy.

The broadcaster says the French prime minister has urged for the matter to be resolved to allow for the proper functioning of the administration.

The king and the chiefs are part of the territory's administration and paid by the French republic.

The choice of king will have to be published in the official journal and confirm who was enthroned properly.

The rivalry between the royal camps last month prompted the French government to send police reinforcements from New Caledonia to Wallis.