Assange's future in the Ecuadorian embassy could be in doubt after elections in the country. The two opposing candidates now face each other in a run off which begins on April 4th and remains to be seen who will come out on top and how this.....
ASSANGE AND ECUADOR
Will a change in leadership spell the end for Assange’s asylum?
In February, 2017, Ecuador took to the polls to elect a new President and National Assembly.
On the 24th of February, the results were released and the ruling PAIS alliance, which contains former President Rafael Correa and his successor Lenin Moreno got 39% of the votes. His main rival is the Creating Opportunities party’s candidate and perennial runner, Guillermo Lasso who got 29% of the votes.
However even though it is a clear majority, the 40% minimum to avoid a runoff vote was not achieved. So, the people of Ecuador are returning to the polls for a second round on April 2nd.
Why is he seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy?
The election has a direct impact on Assange and his future due to him being granted asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012. This was granted by Rafael Correa and his PAIS alliance.
He has been issued warrants for arrest by the Swedish government, Interpol and several other global agencies. He is accused of molestation/rape of two women in Sweden, which the Swedish government would like to see him stand trial for. Interpol issued a Red Notice in November 2011 and an extradition trial followed in London. It ruled in favor of him being extradited to Sweden to stand trial.
It was after this that he took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy but if he takes a single step outside of it, he will be taken by the British police and sent to Sweden.
How does this election affect him?
The most severe allegation against him, that of rape expires in 2020. So, if Assange manages to stay in Embassy till then, he may have a better chance when he stands trial in Sweden.
The run-off elections in Ecuador are worrying for Assange cause if the opposition party, the Creating Opportunities (CO) party wins, Candidate Guillermo Lasso has vowed to annul Assange’s asylum. This could prevent him from waiting out the sentence and causing him then to be convicted in Sweden.
Even if the PAIS alliance win, their candidate Lenin Moreno has asked Assange to stop WikiLeaks operations taking place in the Embassy and Assange’s obvious refusal to do so could cause him trouble.
Assange is in a precarious situation that hinges on an election thousands of kilometers away. The run off could jeopardize his cause as the CO, now has the opportunity to rally and maybe take the election. This could be the end of Assange’s stay in the Embassy and possibly the end of WikiLeaks.