WikiLeaks Approved as Political Party in Australia

Julian Assange.
Julian Assange.
 Oli Scarff/Getty Images

SYDNEY – WikiLeaks has been formally approved as a political party and will field candidates, including founder Julian Assange, in the upcoming Australian Senate election.

The Australian Election Commission on Tuesday approved the WikiLeaks Party registration.

Assange has previously said he will run for a Senate seat. But if he is elected, how he plans to take up his seat while holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London remains unclear.  

STORY: Julian Assange on His First Year in the Ecuadorian Embassy, Prosecution Fears

WikiLeaks says if Assange is elected but is unable to return to Australia, another candidate could fill his spot.

Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London more than a year ago. If he leaves the embassy he faces the prospect of arrest by U.K. authorities on behalf of the government of Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning related to sexual assault.

Greg Barns, a former staff member for the conservative Liberal Party, was named the Wikleaks Party campaign director in April. "Julian Assange is in a very good position to pick up a seat in Victoria," Barns told The Australian newspaper.

A federal election is currently scheduled for Sept. 14 but could be held slightly earlier or later if the newly installed prime minister, Kevin Rudd, decides to change the date favored by his predecessor, Julia Gillard.

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