Spoof “vote for Turkson” posters have popped up in Rome along walls still plastered with campaign posters from Italy’s general election on Sunday and Monday. Campaigning for the papacy is officially forbidden and even suggesting one is a candidate is usually enough to end any cardinal’s chances of ascending to the throne of Saint Peter.
Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson is the Irish bookmakers’ favorite to replace Pope Benedict, putting a non-European in pole position to lead the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church for the first time in more than a millennium.
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power offered odds of 11/4 against for Turkson, meaning successful punters would win 11 pounds for every four staked, while Britain’s second largest bookmaker Ladbrokes offered odds of 5/2 against.
Turkson would be the first non-European to lead the Catholic church in more than a millennium if he is chosen to succeed Benedict. Italian Angelo Scola is second favorite according to Paddy Power at 3/1 against.