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Assange's WikiLeaks party in turmoil

28 August 2013, 14:34

Sydney - Former WikiLeaks Party candidate Leslie Cannold said on Wednesday she would sit as an independent if she were elected to Australia's parliament in the September 7 ballot.

Cannold was second on the ticket for the upper house after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange until she broke with the party last week over alleged corruption.

"I would be completely independent," the Melbourne academic said. "I would have nothing more to do with that party."

Australian-born Assange is holed up in Ecuador's Embassy in London to thwart attempts to extradite him to Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations.

If Assange won a seat in the senate, under proportional-representation rules Cannold would be his automatic replacement. It is too late for her to withdraw her candidacy.

WikiLeaks' already slim chances of victory at the ballot box were delivered a blow by the exit last week of Cannold and six other senior party members over secret preference deals with other parties.

"We're talking about the most profound kind of internal corruption in a party that puts itself out as a standard bearer for transparency, democracy, accountability, truth-telling and justice," Cannold said.

Assange released a promotional video showing him wearing a wig and miming to an Australian rock classic by singer John Farnham in which he appeals to "all the Sheilas and blokes back home in Oz" to vote for his party.

The video was criticised for its crude representations of other candidates in an election that pits Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labor Party against Tony Abbott's conservative coalition.

Wikileaks spokesperson Cassie Findlay was unavailable for comment.



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