Julian Assange will be given a month’s notice to leave the Ecuadorian embassy if the country’s main opposition candidate wins the presidency in next week’s election. In an interview with the Guardian, Guillermo Lasso, of the rightwing Creo-Suma alliance, said it was time for the WikiLeaks founder to move on because his asylum was expensive and no longer justified. “The Ecuadorian people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear,” he said during an interview in Quito. “We will cordially ask Señor Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate.” That possibility is still some way off. In the most recent poll, Lasso is seven points behind the ruling party candidate Lenín Moreno, but the former banker has been gaining ground ahead of the first round of voting on 19 February and is widely tipped to force a runoff. Even if there is no change in power in Quito, however, it seems increasingly likely that Assange will soon be moving from the cramped embassy in Knightsbridge that has been his refuge for more than four and a half years.
New Zealand’s election campaign has been bitter and bizarre, unable to shake off the long shadows cast by an internet mogul and a blogger. Opinion polls suggest Prime Minister John Key’s National Party may cling to power after the real polls close on Saturday night, but it will be close. If Mr Key prevails for the centre-right, he will have overcome allegations of government dirty tricks – based on the hacked emails of burly blogger Cameron Slater, aka Whale Oil, that resulted in Justice Minister Judith Collins being forced to resign from cabinet. And a feud with German giant Kim Dotcom meant Mr Key, 53 and a fellow self-made multimillionaire, had to spend much of this week batting away claims that the nation’s GCSB spy agency is engaged in mass surveillance of its citizens. Mr Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the US to face internet piracy charges, hosted an event in Auckland on Monday featuring WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden (both via video link), as well as US investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald to assert the spying allegations.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s plans to capture a seat at Australia’s September 7 elections were in disarray on Thursday after his top local candidate quit due to an internal fight over party organization. Assange, who remains holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, accepted responsibility for the divisions, saying he had been too busy helping fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia. “I made a decision two months ago to spend a lot of my time on dealing with the Edward Snowden asylum situation, and trying to save the life of a young man. The result is over delegation,” Assange told Australian television on Thursday. “I admit and I accept full responsibility for over delegating functions to the Australian party while I try to take care of that situation.” Assange has been given political asylum by Ecuador, but faces immediate arrest and extradition to Sweden to face accusations of rape and sexual assault if he leaves Ecuador’s London embassy.
Australia: WikiLeaks founder, Senate candidate Assange says he’s proud of support in homeland | Washington Post
WikiLeaks founder and Australian Senate candidate Julian Assange says he is proud of the level of support he enjoys in his home country and has pledged to enforce transparency in Parliament if he wins a seat in elections in September. “When you turn a bright light on, the cockroaches scuttle away, and that’s what we need to do to Canberra,” the Australian capital, Assange told Nine Network television in an interview filmed in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and broadcast in Australia on Sunday. In a separate interview at the embassy, where he has taken refuge for more than a year, the 42-year-old fugitive told Ten Network that his popularity demonstrated by a recent opinion poll reflected poorly on the ruling Labor Party. The center-left government staunchly supports the U.S. condemnation of WikiLeaks’ disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
The political arm of the global whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks has been formally registered by the Australian Electoral Commission in time for the federal election where the party plans to contest Senate seats in three Australian states. The WikiLeaks party received formal registration on Tuesday and was registered under the name of Gail Malone, a member of the party’s national council and described as a “peace activist” on their website. The registration lists an address in Fitzroy, Melbourne as the party’s correspondence address.
An academic and former advisor to Julian Assange’s legal team has claimed the WikiLeaks founder will face significant eligibility and constitutional hurdles in his bid for an upper-house seat. WikiLeaks last week (30 January) confirmed that Assange would “run on a WikiLeaks party ticket” after Prime Minister Julia Gillard called an election for 14 September. Graeme Orr (pictured), a professor who specialises in the law of politics at the University of Queensland, told Lawyers Weekly that he was approached by Assange’s lawyers last year to provide advice on a potential Senate bid by the controversial activist. Orr claimed Assange’s first hurdle is being eligible to stand, which, under the Commonwealth Electoral Act, requires candidates to be registered to vote. “It is public knowledge that [Assange] is not on the electoral roll,” said Orr.