mongodb replication: no primary elected

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http://serverfault.com – I have three servers with mongod installed on it running as a replication set. Suddenly the two secondories became unavailable (the mongod process died) - I think because they were too stale. The problem is that the original PRIMARY is now the SECONDARY and my application doesn't work because it can't connect to a PRIMARY. I mean, in which way does that help me? If the replica set can't do failover?! Am I missing something? Furhtermore I am asking myself why did the SECONDARIES die / why are they too stale? What can I do about it? FYI: My database is quite big (40GB on disk). (HowTos)