19 May 2016

Futuna king explains surprise abdication

12:12 pm on 19 May 2016

After abdicating at the weekend, the king of Alo on the French Pacific island of Futuna now says he did so after losing the backing of his clan.

no caption

A traditional chieftain's ceremony in Futuna. Photo: AFP

Petelo Sea gave the explanation to the public broadcaster after his surprise move to end his tenure just two years after being installed.

He made his decision known to the customary ministers on Monday and thanked them for their service.

In February, he received François Hollande, who became the first French president to visit Futuna.

On the day, Petelo Sea was also made a Knight of the National Order of Merit.

Futuna has two kingdoms recognised by the French republic.

On neighbouring Wallis, there is one kingdom which last month tried to choose a monarch recognised by all royal families.

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.

France is yet to recognise one of them.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs