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Assange’s Wikileaks to Field Candidates in Australia Vote

Julian Assange will only return to Australia if Sweden drops his extradition request and he's assured safe passage back home, he said in a July 22 interview with TNT Magazine. Photographer: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images
Julian Assange will only return to Australia if Sweden drops his extradition request and he's assured safe passage back home, he said in a July 22 interview with TNT Magazine. Photographer: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images

July 26 (Bloomberg) -- Julian Assange will stand as one of the seven candidates his Wikileaks Party will field for Australia’s Senate in a national election due by the end of November.

The party, registered with the country’s elections agency on July 1, will “make sure whoever is in government does their job,” Assange told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio yesterday. “It’s an insurance policy for the election.”

Assange would only be able to take up a seat if he can avoid extradition to Sweden, which is seeking to question him over allegations of rape and sexual molestation. Assange, an Australian citizen who gained notoriety for releasing thousands of U.S. classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks, has been holed up inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for more than a year to avoid the Swedish request.

Independent candidates and minor parties have held the balance of power in Australia’s Senate in all but three years since the 1983 election, and the Greens and Democrat parties have influenced the outcome of major government policies on both carbon pricing and sales taxes.

The major political parties “say that they are representing the Australian people, and once they’re in Canberra we don’t see that,” Assange said. “We see them representing their new-found friends” including property developers, U.S. diplomats, and large companies, he said.

Assange will only return to Australia if Sweden drops his extradition request and he’s assured safe passage back home, he said in a July 22 interview with TNT Magazine. Ecuador granted him asylum last August, saying he is the victim of political persecution.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Fickling in Sydney at dfickling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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