Just last week we reported that Bradley Manning was talking about running for office once he put his long and difficult legal battle behind him.
Now Julian Assange has put forward a similar plan, saying that he intends to to run as a Senate candidate in the 2013 Australian election and will announce the formation of a WikiLeaks political party early next year.
“Mr Assange said plans to register an Australian WikiLeaks party were ”significantly advanced”. He indicated he would be a Senate candidate, and added that “a number of very worthy people admired by the Australian public” have indicated their availability to stand for election on a party ticket.
Mr Assange said he is able to fulfil the requirements to register as an overseas elector in either New South Wales or Victoria and that he will shortly take a “strategic decision” about which state he would be a Senate candidate for.
Mr Assange’s biological father, John Shipton, has co-ordinated preparations for the formation of a WikiLeaks party, and a draft of the party’s constitution has been subjected to legal review.
Registration of the party with the Australian Electoral Commission would require confirmation of 500 members who are listed on the electoral roll. Mr Assange hopes that WikiLeaks’ internet presence, which includes a Twitter account with nearly 1.7 million followers and a Facebook page with more than 2.1 million “likes”, and the formation of ”friends of WikiLeaks” groups would mobilise Australian supporters.”
Assange claims that his goal is not to take over the government and become a ruler himself, but to use a political platform to force transparency and peace.
Whether this is actually possible remains to be seen, but we can hope that Assange will at least be able to reach more and more people with that kind of public backing.
Assange is currently still in Ecudor’s London embassy where he sought political asylum nearly 6 months ago. Bradley manning is still awaiting trial, but his support continues to grow as his legal situation progresses.
This week voters from around the world choose Bradley Manning to be The Gaurdian’s “Person of the Year.
Trapped at the Ecuadorian embassy
Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past six months. Quito granted him full asylum in August, but the UK refuses to grant him safe passage out of the country.
British police are waiting outside to arrest him so he can be extradited to Sweden to face questioning on sexual assault allegations.
“They’re squatting on the front door demanding the identity of everyone who comes in. It’s an outrageous violation of diplomatic practice,” he said.
The whistleblower remains convinced that extradition to Sweden would lead to his eventual extradition to the US, where he would face charges of espionage following the publication of thousands of classified documents, including secret cables of the US State Department.
But even six months after moving into the embassy, Assange says things could be worse.
“One gets used to things. Other people are in much harsher conditions than I am…[the embassy] is certainly preferable to solitary confinement in Sweden or the United States,” he said.
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