5 Oct 2005

Reformists on Wallis want referendum on ties to France

4:49 pm on 5 October 2005

The reformist clans on Wallis say they want a referendum to determine whether the territory should belong to France and whether French law applies.

This come after backers of the king last month set up armed blockades across Wallis for several days to prevent the reformist clans from choosing a new king.

The reformists say since 1450 customary law allows for a king to be removed by a chiefly vote.

In a memorandum published in Wallis, they say they want a judicial inquiry to find out who supplied the weapons and dynamite used by the king's backers to paralyse the island.

They say they want to know what measures the French state plans to put in place to guarantee the freedom of movement, the freedom of speech and how it can safeguard people and property.

They say the violation of basic human rights is pointing towards the creation of a dictatorship by an armed minority.

France had given official recognition to the reformist clans but in the face of the rebellion, it recognised the king as the only legitimate traditional ruler to avoid a bloodbath.

The reformists say they sought the removal of the king for his irresponsible and scandalous behaviour and point out that a premise should be that all are equal before the law and that the assembly is the territory's paramount democratic institution.