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Assange launches party, fields 2 Indian-origin candidates

Last updated on: July 25, 2013 14:37 IST

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than a year, on Thursday launched his political party in Australia to contest the general elections later this year.

The WikiLeaks Party will field seven candidates, including Assange, for the upper house Senate seats in the federal election. This was announced at an event here via Skype.

Assange, who is an Australian, will contest elections from Victoria. The 42-year-old founder of the whistleblowing website said a major issue in the coming days would be the ruling Labour party's policy on asylum seekers.

He said the party's first actions would be to demand full details of the government's asylum seeker arrangement with Papua New Guinea be made public, news agency Australian Associated Press said.

"Considering PNG's developing country status, the Australian government must disclose how it will assist PNG to financially support resettled refugees," Assange said in a statement.

Last week, Kevin Rudd-led Labour government declared that all immigrants arriving illegally in boats will be sent to Papua New Guinea before being settled there or repatriated.

Announcing that he wanted to be "an independent scrutineer of government activity," Assange said the party's aim will be to "keep politicians honest."

Australia goes to polls in November with the ruling Labour party up against Tony Abbott-led conservatives.

Assange has not stepped out of Ecuador's embassy in London since June 2012 where he sought refuge during his legal battle for extradition from Britain to Sweden.

The Wikileaks founder is wanted in Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes. Assange has argued that the charges against him are trumped up and a retaliation by the US for releasing classified material on Iraq and Afghanistan wars by the website.

Two Indian-origin persons are among the seven candidates who will contest elections on a Wikileaks Party ticket in Senate polls in Australia.

Indian-origin academician Binoy Kampmark, who was born in Malaysia and has Bengali heritage will stand for the upper house election from Victoria.

Also, Suresh Rajan, whose family has roots in Kerala will be party's candidate from Western Australia.

According to party spokesperson Samantha Cross, Assange stressed that the party "would keep the politicians honest".

Natasha Chaku in Melbourne
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