WikiLeaks’ Assange to run for Australian Senate

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is planning to run for election to the Australian Senate, the organisation announced Saturday on Twitter. Assange, an Australian citizen, is on bail awaiting a British court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. He strongly denies the claims, saying they are politically motivated and linked to the activities of WikiLeaks, which has published thousands of confidential documents on the Internet. The whistle-blowing website said it appeared that the 40-year-old’s current legal situation did not rule him out of running for Australia’s upper house. “We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained,” WikiLeaks said on Twitter. “Julian has decided to run.” WikiLeaks said it will also field a candidate to run directly against Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her lower house electorate of Lalor, in Victoria, in the elections, which are due in 2013. Each of Australia’s states is represented by 12 senators, with half-senate elections for some 40 vacancies generally held at the same time as national polls for the lower House of Representatives.