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With the college of cardinals expected to withdraw into conclave on Monday to begin the process of electing a new pontiff to replace outgoing Pope Benedict XVI, Africa continues to put in a strong showing at the bookmakers.
With many predicting the new pope will be drawn from the so-called Third World, Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson has edged into the lead at 11/4, as against closest rival Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola, listed at 3/1 late on Saturday. Over the past week the two papabiles have been neck and neck in what must be the world’s most unlikely race.
Next comes a second Italian Cardinal, Tarcisio Bertone, at 5/1, and, a little further down the list, Canada’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet, an early front-runner but now uncertain at 8/1.
South African cleric Cardinal Wilfred Napier, some weeks ago at 50/1, is now a rank outsider at 100/1 in the latest betting.
Betting on fictional priest Dougal Maguire, from the TV series Father Ted, also stays more or less constant - at 1 000/1.
Flutters on the outcome of the 2013 Papal Conclave – and you can place bets on when that will start, and how long the 115 cardinals will confer before the white smoke rises above the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square to announce a new Holiness - are expected to make it the biggest round of non-sporting betting in history. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power calculates on taking bets in excess of $7 million (R63m). - Sunday Argus