WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange established the WikiLeaks political party in an effort to run for a Senate seat in the Australian national election. Assange declared his candidacy to run for office in media reports circulated on Thursday. Assange is a supporter of the antisecrecy movement that promotes transparency in government organizations.
Assange was given political asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, due to alleged sexual assault accusations in Sweden. Two women have reportedly filed charges through the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office who in turn issued an arrest warrant for Assange. Assange made a statement saying, “the accusations are without basis and their appearance at this moment is deeply disturbing.”
Assange had previously planned to base his WikiLeaks organization in Sweden due to the relaxed whistle blower laws before his troubles with the Swedish justice system. The assumption by his supporters is he was set up and critics of his organization intentionally plotted against him. Assange was granted asylum by the government of Ecuador and has since resided in London in the Ecuadorean Embassy.
With the newly established WikiLeaks Party Julian Assange plans to run his campaign from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
“It’s not unlike running the WikiLeaks organization,” he said. “However, it’s nice to be politically engaged in my home country,” said Assange.
A former Australian computer hacker, Assange rose to celebrity as a advocate of radical government transparency and is a staunch critic of U.S. foreign policy. His asylum was granted due to the concern that his human rights may be violated if extradited to Sweden. His alleged charges stemmed from his attendance at a Christian Democratic Committee Conference in Sweden.
Critics of Assange are of the opinion that his WikiLeaks Party candidacy is a vanity plow for self-aggrandizement. Some believe that Assange is attempting to exact revenge on a system that has laid siege to diminishing his character. However, observers have speculated the party may have a serious chance at competing successfully in elections.
“The Australian Senate has a history of successful protest candidates,” said John Wanna, a political science professor at Australian National University. “Assange probably hopes to trade on name recognition and follow in the footsteps of other rabble-rousing, single-issue senators,” he said.
The newly established WikiLeaks Party has other candidates besides Assange that will run in election efforts. Six other candidates have been nominated by the party to participate in elections for the month of September. The Party has been picking up steam in the media in propagating its social goals.
“WikiLeaks Party’s core values of transparency, accountability and justice are the template against which we will examine any important issues for Australians: tax reform, asylum-seekers, climate change policy and more,” said the 41-year-old Assange in an opinion piece in the Australian newspaper.
Establishment of the WikiLeaks Party by Julian Assange is an attempt to keep politician honest about the functions of government. The people have a right in certain areas of public policy for transparency and fair dealings.
“If elected,” said Assange, “his party would work to advance a platform of transparency, justice, and accountability.”
By Thomas Barr