The conclave′s first vote for pope reveals black smoke | News | DW | 12.03.2013
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The conclave's first vote for pope reveals black smoke

The 115 cardinals meeting for a second day will resume voting for a new pope on Wednesday. Black smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney on Tuesday indicating the first vote by the conclave was inconclusive.

Thick black smoke billowing from the Sistine Chapel's chimney Tuesday evening signalled an inconclusive first vote by the conclave to elect a new pope.

Until they choose a new pontiff, the 115 scarlet-robed cardinals' only communication with the outside world will be the smoke from the chimney - black when voting sessions end with an inconclusive result and white when a new pope is elected.

The new pope must receive a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes, necessary to become the 266th pontiff.

No conclave in the modern era has chosen a pope on its first day.

Ancient tradition

The cardinals were locked in the Sistine Chapel at 5:34 pm local time (1634 GMT) on Tuesday to start their historic conclave to elect a new pope after Benedict XVI's surprise resignation in February.

Once the cardinals had filed into the Sistine Chapel, the master of ceremonies Guido Marini invoked the "Extra Omnes," (Latin for "Everyone Out") and all non-voting people present left the chapel before the doors were locked.

Earlier Tuesday, the cardinals held a mass in Saint Peter's Basilica where they prayed for the unity of the Church.

A total of 115 cardinals from 48 countries - all under the age of 80 – are taking part in the ancient ritual.

Of the electors, 60 are European, 19 from Latin America, 11 from Africa, 10 from Asia and one from Oceania.

Benedict XVI, who abdicated last month, was elected in less than 24 hours in 2005. However, his predecessor, John Paul II, was chosen after three days. The average length of the last nine conclaves was just over three days.

No clear frontrunner has emerged since Benedict announced that he intended to step down, becoming the first pope since medieval times to do so.

jlw,hc/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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