Who will replace Pope Benedict XVI?

Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world today by declaring that he is to resign due to old age and health problems.

A successor will be appointed within 18 days, meaning the race to replace him at the Vatican is already on. Odds of 2.50 are available on a first African pope for 1500 years, with 6.50 available on North America and 4.00 for South/Central America. You can back an Italian to become pope at 3.00, or a Brit at 35.00.

Who, though, are the key contenders? We've picked out the main candidates below:

Peter Turkson (2.85)

A Cardinal since 2009, the Ghanaian was appointed by the late Pope John Paul in 2003 and is considered the early favourite for the role.

Francis Arinze (5.00)

The Nigerian is an African Roman Catholic Archbishop, ordained in 1959. He was one of Pope John Paul II's closest advisers and has long been considered a plausible candidate.

Marc Ouellet (6.50)

The president of the Papal Commission for Latin America, Ouellet has been archbishop of Quebec, and is the highest Catholic representative in Canada.

Angelo Scola (8.00)

Appointed Archbishop of Milan in 2011, Scola is the leading Italian candidate for the papacy. He has been a cardinal for ten years.

Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (10.00)

Maradiaga was made cardinal in 2001 after serving as a bishop in Honduras for over two decades. He has represented the Vatican with the IMF and World Bank.

Luis Antonio Tagle (10.00)

Known for his charisma, Tagle is the de facto Primate of the Philippines. At 55 years of age, he is one of the younger contenders for the role.

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