As Ecuador gears up for its upcoming presidential election, WikiLeaks appears to be scrambling to gather public support, in efforts to prevent the imminent threat of founder Julian Assange's potential eviction from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the whistleblower has been residing under asylum since 2012. The whistleblowing site is currently promoting the #ElMundoConAssange hashtag (roughly translated — world with Assange) on Twitter, urging supporters to voice their support for Assange.
Ecuador's presidential election is slated to take place on 19 February. Although former Ecuadorian vice president Lenin Moreno is considered to be the favourite to win the election, leading opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso of the right-wing Creo-Suma party could potentially become the victor in a second-round vote, RT reported. Lasso has previously clarified his intentions to evict Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, if elected.
"The Ecuadorian people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear," Lasso said in a recent interview. "We will cordially ask Señor Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate."
Despite the current outgoing administration's support of Assange, the upcoming election could play a major role in deciding the future of WikiLeaks and its founder.
There were widespread speculations on whether Assange would voluntarily head to the US, as he previously vowed to, after former President Barack Obama granted clemency to Chelsea Manning. However, Assange's legal representatives later clarified that the whistleblower would not be exiting the embassy.
On 16 February, WikiLeaks took to Twitter to highlight previously released publications on the three major presidential candidates, Lasso, Moreno as well as Cynthia Viteri, who also vowed to evict Assange from the embassy.
Assange is currently wanted in Sweden over allegations of sexual misconduct and rape. However, he is yet to be officially charged by authorities. He has previously voiced concerns that leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London could lead to his extradition to the US, where the DoJ (Department of Justice) currently has a case against WikiLeaks for leaking thousands of classified government documents.