Julian Assange has admitted his preoccupation with Edward Snowden’s case has resulted in “over-delegation” in his WikiLeaks Party as five members announced resignations just weeks before the Australian elections.
"I made a decision two months ago to spend a lot of my time on
dealing with the Edward Snowden asylum situation, and trying to
save the life of a young man. The result is over-delegation,"
Assange told Australian ABC News.
Assange, still held in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, made the
statement in response to Leslie Cannold’s resignation. Author and
ethicist, she was second on the party's Senate ticket and was
supposed to replace the whistleblower, should he win the seat in
the September 7 elections.
"As long as I believed there was a chance that democracy,
transparency and accountability could prevail in the party I was
willing to stay on and fight for it,” she said in a letter of
But she said there were also "some very serious problems"
and that is why she felt she had to resign.
Cannold wrote that the party was no longer "a democratically run
party that both believes in transparency and accountability”.
The former candidate also agreed that the time difference had
made communication with Assange difficult.
Assange said he hadn't been aware of the internal problems until
“It's not easy being a party leader at a distance with a
nine-hour time delay,” he said. "I went to sleep last
night and during the night this whole kerfuffle broke in
"Leslie didn't speak to me to address any issues or concerns.
From my perspective, if something is serious you speak to the
party leader about it before you speak to the press," he
Cannold's decision followed a dispute in the WikiLeaks Party over
its preferences in New South Wales and Western Australia, where
the party gave its voting “likes” to far-right parties ahead of
major parties and strong support to the Greens on its NSW Senate
Assange’s party claimed it was an "administrative error"
and declared it would review its preference deals.
Besides Cannold, four representatives of the 11-person National Council, the party's governing body, and two volunteers have announced their resignations.
Daniel Mathews, one of the four Council members who resigned and
also the founder of the WikiLeaks website, quit the party citing
“the recent fiasco over senate preferences.”
Mathews has criticized Assange for neglecting National council
meetings that “have been held at least weekly for several
“Until last Friday, Julian had attended precisely one meeting.
He is extremely busy, of course, and has many important things to
do. Helping Edward Snowden is surely more important than
attending a council meeting,” Mathews wrote.
Assange said the party already has a candidate short list to replace Cannold, who predicted that more members may resign.
Meanwhile, polls put a coalition led by conservative, Tony
Abbott, in the lead for the September election, while Australia's
Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is still very much in the
running. Assange’s WikiLeaks Party is unlikely to attract the 17
percent of the vote needed to win a Senate seat, Reuters reports.