WikiLeaks Approved as Political Party in Australia

Julian Assange Walking Outside
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Julian Assange, the founder of the Wikileaks whistle blowing website, arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court on January 11, 2011 in London, England. Mr Assange is expected to find out the date of his full extradition hearing to Sweden where he is wanted on sexual offence allegations.

The founder of the whistleblowing organization, Julian Assange, says he will run for a Senate seat in the upcoming federal election.

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.