Papal Frontrunners Include Two Africans And One Canadian

Petar Pismestrovic, Kleine Zeitung, Austria

With the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict the speculation has already turned to who will be chosen to replace him.

According to the latest reports the frontrunner is 80 year old Francis Arizne of Nigeria. He would make history as the first non white Pope and the first from outside Europe. However his age would mean a relatively short tenure in office.

The second most likely candidate is much younger, 64 year old Peter Turkson of Ghana. He would also be the first non-white, non-European Pope but would likely serve for a much longer period of time.

The third contender that observers point to is 68 year old  Marc Ouellet of Canada. He would be the first Pope from the Americas and like Turkson would be likely to serve for a longer period of time.

Of course there is always the chance for a surprise choice. In 1978 few people expected them to choose a Polish Pope.

Change though is not likely as all three leading contenders are conservatives who would govern much like Benedict has.

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Author: PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor