The Age reports that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has filed to run for a seat in the Australian senate as a member of the new WikiLeaks Party, which consists of a 10-member national council of Assange's associates. Assange, a controversial international figure that has facilitated several embarrassments for the US government through whistleblower leaks, is currently in political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange has been an outspoken critic of the US in recent years, seeking to draw attention to the country's use of drones and its justification for "targeted killings."
Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations, but fears that those charges are really intended to facilitate his extradition to the United States. Ecuador granted Assange refuge on the grounds that he could face "political persecution," or be extradited to Sweden and possibly the United States, where he fears he could face the death penalty. Ecuador's decision to grant Assange asylum has deepened the row, drawing aggressive posturing from the British Foreign Office and the US.
As The Age reports, Australia allows citizens living overseas to run as a Senate candidate if they left Australia within the past three years, and intend to return within six years of their departure. Assange would still need to take up the seat, but another WikiLeaks Party nominee will reportedly fill it if he's unable to return.