There is less than a month to go before the second round of Ecuador’s presidential election, the outcome of which could end Julian Assange’s nearly five-year stay in the country’s London embassy. The April 2 runoff election pits Lenin Moreno, successor to current left-wing President Rafael Correa, against Guillermo Lasso, the right-wing opposition candidate. The Correa government has hosted Assange in a converted-office apartment in the embassy since June 19, 2012, when he fled bail and requested asylum in Ecuador to avoid extradition to Sweden, which has called for his return in relation to sexual-misconduct allegations.
Welcoming Assange lent Ecuador some of the WikiLeaks founder’s cache and gave Correa the sheen of a defender of press freedom at a time when he was assailing the press at home.
But Assange’s accommodation may come to an end if Lasso assumes Ecuador’s highest office.
“The Ecuadorian people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear,” Lasso told The Guardian during an interview in February. “We will cordially ask Señor Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate.”