Julian Assange Reveals Plan to Run for a Senate Seat
By Erik Pineda | March 19, 2012 2:34 PM EST
WikiLeaks has announced over the weekend that its founder, Australian national Julian Assange, will vie for a Senate seat next year amidst his ongoing legal troubles.
The controversial anti-secrecy website has announced Saturday via Twitter that "Julian has decided to run."
"We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained," the group added.
Assange is presently being kept under house arrest in the United Kingdom, where he wages a legal battle to prevent his extradition to Sweden and elude charges of sex assaults brought before the courts.
Assange maintains that the United States would work for his eventual extradition to America following the publication of leaked diplomatic cables that had embarrassed Washington.
The former computer hacker has also aired his attacks on Prime Minister Julia Gillard, accusing the Labor leader of overlooking his rights as an Australian citizen in order to maintain close ties with the U.S. government.
Ms Gillard had described Assange's actions as 'grossly irresponsible' and even ordered the Australian Federal Police to determine if WikiLeaks and Assange can be held liable for publishing the leaked documents.
The Australian police had concluded on its probe that Assange did not violate any Australian laws.
Assange found an ally on Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who had earlier called on Ms Gillard to give the WikiLeaks founder all the protection accorded to an Australian citizen.
The Australian government, Ludlam said, must exercise its duty to oppose the extradition of Assange to the United States if such claims will be made by Washington.
In an interview with Agence France Presse (AFP), the Greens senator sees no legal hurdle that could stop Assange from seeking an elective post in the Australian Parliament since he is an Australian citizen.
Assange's mother, according to The Associated Press (AP), is currently based in Queensland and was identified by the news agency as Christine Assange.
Legal experts also affirmed that an Assange candidacy for the Australian Senate is highly possible as the laws allow any Australian adult national to run without specific prejudices.
Even if Assange is convicted in Sweden, George Williams of the University of New South Wales told AP that mostly likely the decision would not be reflected as a conviction under the Australian Constitution.
"I'm not aware of an impediment to him standing, even if he was convicted," the constitutional expert said.
Instead, Assange's main problem would be winning a seat as candidates without the major party affiliations were usually defeated during election times, with only Senator Nick Xenophon emerging as an independent among the present batch of senators.
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