Cheering crowds await identity of new pope
Posted Wednesday, March 13 2013 at 22:11
Tens of thousands of people cheered as they waited in St Peter's Square on Wednesday for the identity of the new pope to be revealed after he was elected after two days of voting.
White smoke had billowed from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel roof, signalling that 115 cardinals meeting in a conclave had reached a decision after five ballots, prompting shouts of "Viva il Papa!" (Long Live the Pope).
Despite the rain that had fallen for much of the afternoon on the Vatican, a surge of anticipation passed through the crowd waiting for the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics to emerge onto the balcony of St Peter's Basilica.
Marching bands marched onto the square to move into position ahead of the first appearance of Benedict XVI's successor, as children raced to get the best view of the balcony.
"We were having dinner nearby and heard a roar, and raced here to see for ourselves," said Ruud, 31, from the Netherlands.
Brazil's Odilo Scherer, Canada's Marc Ouellet and Italy's Angelo Scola -- all conservatives similar to Benedict in outlook but different in style -- were the three favourites but papal elections are notoriously difficult to predict.
French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran will announce the new pope thanks to his role as a cardinal protodeacon.