Julian Assange launches 'Wikileaks Party' by videolink from the Ecuadorian embassy

Mr Assange announced his own candidacy for a seat in the Australian Senate in the national elections later this year

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has launched his Australian political party via videolink from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Mr Assange, who remains in the embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum over charges of rape in Sweden, made the announcement to an assembled audience at Melbourne's Fitzroy library.

During the statement Mr Assange also announced his own candidacy for a seat in the Australian Senate in the national elections later this year.

Assange, a computer hacker most famous for his involvement in releasing a massive haul of US diplomatic cables, is seeking to win a Senate seat in Victoria.

The WikiLeaks Party will field seven candidates in total - they include academics, journalists and human rights activists.

According to the Australian website for the party: "The WikiLeaks Party stands for unswerving commitment to the core principles of civic courage nourished by understanding and truthfulness and the free flow of information.

It is a party that will practise in politics what WikiLeaks has done in the field of information by standing up to the powerful and shining a light on injustice and corruption."

Speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Mr Assange said: "The Wikileaks Party is a party of accountability, it's not a party of government."

"It's a party to put into the Senate, to make sure whoever is put into the government does their job. It's an insurance against the election."

According to Australian law Mr Assange would have to take up his seat within one year of being elected, although the Senate could grant him an extension.

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