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Cardinals continue debate on next pope

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Cardinals continue debate on next pope

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Cardinals gathered in the Vatican will meet for a second day of deliberations to decide on who’ll be the next pope. Thousands of people packed into St Peter’s Square on Monday night to await the sign from the Sistine Chapel that the secret conclave had reached a conclusion. But they were disappointed as black smoke came out the chimney – indicating no new pope had been elected.

“We thought it was white at first, but then suddenly we saw grey smoke rising,” said one woman. The 115 cardinals congregating in the chapel will be balloted twice again this morning. If those rounds fail to produce a new leader for the world’s one billion Catholics, the cardinals will hold two further rounds this afternoon.

To win, a candidate needs a two-thirds majority, or at least 77 votes. If, after more than 33 votes, there is still no candidate with a two-thirds majority – the cardinals can switch to a simple majority voting system. The cardinals will be shut off from the outside until they chose a successor to Pope John Paul II. Strict security measures have been imposed to ensure the secrecy of the conclave is kept.