WikiLeaks Founder to Run for Australian Senate
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a thorn in the side of the U.S. government thanks to his posting of classified information, will run for a seat in the Australian Senate in spite of being held in the United Kingdom on house arrest. His organization posted the development on Twitter.
The question of whether Assange can succeed in his bid is a good one. On one hand, he has repeatedly been convicted of crimes involving hacking and some people consider him to be a high-tech terrorist. At the same time, he's a master at getting media attention and many people applaud his efforts to make governments more transparent.
Assange, who was born and raised in Australia, is waiting to find out if he will be extradited to Sweden, where two women have accused him of sexually assaulting them in 2010.
According to The Register, Assange's entry into the political arena was inevitable.
Wikileaks also posted on Twitter that it is looking for a candidate to run against Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her seat representing the Australian state of Victoria.
Assange has criticized Gillard for not defending him after WikiLeaks made thousands of classified U.S. embassy cables public in 2010. Even though Australian police said he hadn't broken any Australian laws by doing it, Gillard called the action "grossly irresponsible," reports The Independent.
Assange won an Amnesty International Media Award for publicizing extrajudicial killings in Kenya, was chosen by Time Magazine readers as 2010 Person of the Year and last year was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
John Wanna, an Australian National University political scientist, said Assange likely won't prevail in his bid, but that he could receive more than 4 percent of the votes in his nominated state because of his high profile, reports The Washington Post.
Assange also would likely need backing from a major political party, which could be problematic considering his controversial image.