Vatican City

Next pope will need at least 77 conclave votes

Cardinals accept withdrawal of O'Brien, Darmaatmadja

Next pope will need at least 77 conclave votes

Vatican City, March 8 - The next pope will have to win the votes of at least 77 of the 155 cardinals taking part in the upcoming conclave, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Friday. Benedict XVI, who stepped down as pope last week, changed the rules of the conclave so that a two-thirds majority is needed for a cardinal to become pontiff. The 85-year-old only needed a simple majority of over half of the cardinals to be elected at the 2005 conclave that took place after John Paul II's death. The figure needed to win a two-thirds majority has changed slight after the number of cardinal electors dropped from 117 when two pulled out. Lombardi said Friday that the cardinals had accepted the withdrawal of Indonesian Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja and British Cardinal Keith O'Brien. Darmaatmadja, 78, the archbishop emeritus of Jakarta, will not attend due to poor health. O'Brien resigned as archbishop of Scotland after admitting to inappropriate sexual conduct in the 1980s with a number of seminarists.

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