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ANC congratulates Pope Francis

The ruling party has congratulated the Catholic Church on the election of its new pope.

The new leader of the Catholic Church, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who will be known as Pope Francis, was elected on 13 March, 2013. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC has added its voice to the international chorus that has welcomed newly elected Pope Francis I.

The 76-year-old Latin American was elected after a two-day vote by 115 cardinals at the Vatican on Wednesday night.

He becomes the 266th pope following the surprise resignation of Benedict XVI in February.

Pope Francis will be formally installed on Tuesday.

The ANC's Keith Khoza said, "We are also happy that for the first time, a pope has been appointed outside of Europe."

He said the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bargoglio was proof that the Catholic church was starting to realise leadership outside European borders.