Held up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he sought political asylum for almost five years, WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is considering running for British Parliament in the U.K.'s upcoming snap election.
Assange posed the question of whether he should run or not to his followers in the form of a survey on his Twitter feed on Wednesday. He asked: "Should I run in the U.K. general election? The government has detained me without charge for seven years: justice4assange.com." While 48 percent of voters responded that he should do it because it would be fun, 31 percent said that he should go ahead with his bid to become an MP and, in the process, mock the U.K. government globally.
Being a member of a Commonwealth member state, Australia, and not having been sentenced or convicted of any crime, Assange, theoretically, has the right to run in the British MP election.
"I'm seriously considering how much fun it might be to slap the powder off their stuck-up, class-bound noses," Assange said during an interview with Australian media outlet, Fairfax.
To start campaigning Assange must secure the support of 10 parliamentary electors in the constituency he seeks to represent, fill out the proper paperwork, and pay a 500 British pound (roughly US$640) fee. He's not obliged to select or secure the support of any political party and could run as an independent.
However, if Assange wins, he may have serious difficulty voting on legislation in Westminster as U.K. officials have promised to detain him as soon as he sets foot outside of the Ecuadorean embassy. On a brighter note, ironically, Assange could easily become acclimated to life as a British MP as they are not required to attend parliamentary sessions in person.
Assange and his supporters are convinced that he's been, and continues to be, confined to the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012 due to U.S. efforts to prosecute him for publishing scores of CIA documents and other classified materials through WikiLeaks. While Swedish officials have sought to extradite him on a series of sex-related allegations, the latest senior U.S. official to denounce the internationally renowned secret-buster is CIA director, Mike Pompeo, who referred to WikiLeaks and its staff as "demons."
A U.N. panel of specialists declared that Assange's confinement to the Ecuadorean embassy, without being officially charged with any crime, constitutes arbitrary detention. Nevertheless, Swedish and British officials have not let up on their attempts to detain and extradite this journalist who has exposed the dark side of many state secrets.