Black smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel has signified the 115 cardinal electors have again failed to choose a new pope on the second day of the conclave. A final round of voting for the day is underway.
Cardinals voted three times Wednesday in the famed chapel, but the election of a successor to Benedict XVI remained inconclusive early in the evening.
Until they choose a new pontiff, the cardinals' only communication with the outside world will be through emissions 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.
Catholic pilgrims and tourists began arriving at the historic St. Peter's Square in Vatican City early Wednesday, in the hope of seeing white smoke emerge from the chapel's chimney.
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 and withdrew to the papal summer residence outside Rome.
jlw/ipj (Reuters, AFP, AP)