The runners and riders to replace Pope Benedict XVI

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson is one of the favourites to replace Pope Benedict. Credit: Reuters

Speculation has been gathering over who will replace Pope Benedict XVI when he steps down on February 28, here is a quick look at the runners and riders.

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet - 3/1

French-Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68, is a hockey fan and has been described as "affable as well as cosmopolitan" by the Ottawa Citizen.

Multilingual Ouellet has the same theological views as Pope Benedict XVI and National Catholic reporter John Allen said he would be a pontiff who was "respected for his brains, his integrity and spiritual depth."

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson - 4/1

Cardinal Peter Turkson is admired for his human touch. Credit: Reuters

When Pope Benedict XVI said condoms were not the solution to Africa's AIDS crisis, Cardinal Peter Turkson disagreed and said there could be circumstances where they could be useful.

Turkson is popular in Ghana and speaks the native language Fante, he also delivers a weekly broadcast on the country's state channel.

The Rev Stephen Domelevo, from the Ghana Catholic communication office, told The Guardian: "He speaks many local languages – as well as European languages – and uses jokes and humour to really portray messages to people. He has that human touch."

Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze - 5/1

Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze could become the first black Pope. Credit: Reuters

Cardinal Francis Arinze, 80, was among the favourites to become Pope in 2005 but was beaten to the post by Joseph Ratzinger.

Arinze, who has spent 25 years in the Vatican, is a conservative Catholic and because he is over 80, he cannot vote in the upcoming conclave.

Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola - 5/1

Both Cardinal Angelo Scola and Pope Benedict XVI are conservative Catholics. Credit: Reuters

The Archbishop of Milan Cardinal Angelo Scola, 71, would become the first Italian Pope since John Paul I, who died in 1978 after serving only 33 days as the leader of the Catholic Church.

Scola, like Pope Benedict XVI and John Paul II, is a conservative Catholic and called the media's coverage on the Pope's handling of the sex abuse allegations against the church "an iniquitous humiliation."

Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri - 7/1

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri delivered the news of Pope John Paul II's death. Credit: Reuters

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 63, was born to Italian parents in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires.

Sandri would become the first Latin America Pope if chosen and is well-known for serving as Pope John Paul II's spokesman, even announcing his death in April 2005.

And the chances of a British Pope?

Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols is an outsider for the top job. Credit: Katie Collins/PA Archive

Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, 67, is an outsider for the top job with bookies giving odds of around 66/1 for him being the next Pope.

Odds from Ladbrokes.