Conclave Begins Monday

4-17-05- Cardinals in their conclave to elect a new pope could choose to cast their first ballots tomorrow afternoon. If not, they'll start voting Tuesday morning, with four ballots each day.

At least 77 votes, from two-thirds of the 115 voting cardinals, are needed to elect a pontiff during initial balloting. But under rules updated in 1996 by the late Pope John Paul the Second, it could shrink to a simple majority at some point in the second week.

Since the pope is bishop of Rome, one of Italy's 20 voting cardinals could be chosen.

Over half of the voting cardinals are from Europe, 20 are from Latin America and eleven are from the United States.


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