WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange running for Australian Senate

July 25, 2013 at 9:15 AM
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SYDNEY, July 25 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange officially unveiled a new Australian political party from London Thursday and declared his candidacy for Senate.

National elections are scheduled for Sept. 14.

Assange said in a telephone interview with The New York Times he plans to run his campaign from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has been living for more than a year to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault charges.

"It's not unlike running the WikiLeaks organization," he said of his long distance campaign for a seat from Victoria in the federal Senate.

Assange named his political organization the WikiLeaks Party during a videolink from London to the Fitzroy Library in Melbourne, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Six party candidates will run in the election, two each in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia, Assange said.

During the video conference from London, Assange said the WikiLeaks Party would work for "transparency, justice and accountability," the Morning Herald said.

"My plans are to essentially parachute in a crack troop of investigative journalists into the Senate and to do what we have done with WikiLeaks, in holding banks and government and intelligence agencies to account," Assange said.

He would have to take his seat within one year of being elected under Australian law although the Senate could grant an extension.

"He talked about wanting to be back in Australia to take up his seat, said party spokeswoman Samantha Cross. "He was hopeful that that would occur. If it doesn't, the party will nominate a running mate, which is Leslie Cannold."

A computer hacker, Assange is best known for founding the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks that released a trove of U.S. State Department diplomatic cables in 2010.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has labeled him a "high-tech terrorist" for releasing classified communications that harmed American interests and endangered lives.

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