As it happened: Pope Francis elected

Key points

  • Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina has been elected as Pope Francis
  • The new pope is the first pope to hail from from the Americas
  • News was greeted with joy by thousands in St Peter's Square
  • The new pontiff replaced Benedict XVI who stood down last month for health reasons

Live text

Reporting:

  • Jastinder Khera 
  • Alexis Akwagyiram 
  • Lucy Fleming 

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White smoke has appeared from the chimney on the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, indicating a new pope has been chosen - welcome to our live coverage of the latest developments.

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The election has been greeted by cheering from crowds of faithful in St Peter's Square, where more are arriving to celebrate.

TWEET

The BBC's Mike Hirst

tweets: Elation on the square, brollies bouncing and flags swaying as bell tolls and white smoke billows. Habemus papam. We know what, now who?

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The name of the new Pope is expected to be announced shortly.

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After the new pope has chosen a name, the other cardinals will approach the new pope to make an act of homage and obedience.

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The new pontiff will go alone to the Pauline Chapel for solitary prayer before emerging to the public, the BBC's Robert Pigott reports.

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Crowds at the Vatican

Many Romans will now be flocking to join the thousands in St Peter's Square welcoming the new pope.

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More images of the announcement - and the jubilant crowds that greeted it - can be found in our picture gallery.

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The speed of the decision has surprised some observers, given that there was no clear front-runner before the vote.