After more than four years sheltering sheltering inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could have limited time left.
Ecuadorian presidential candidate, Guillermo Lasso, of the right wing Creo-Suma alliance has said in an interview with The Guardian that if he won the election, he would “cordially ask Señor Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate.”
He added that “the Ecuadorian people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear.”
Guillaume Long, Ecuador’s foreign minister, appeared to be in agreement, stating that “our staff have been through a lot. There is a human cost.”
He went on to compare the situation at the embassy to “something out of a John le Carré novel”.
However, it appears unlikely that Lasso will have the opportunity to fulfill his pledge, as he is trailing seven points behind Lenín Moreno, the ruling Country Alliance party’s candidate.
The first round of voting is due to take place on February 19, and candidates require at least 40 per cent of the vote, with a 10 per cent margin to win at the first round.
Julian Assange first entered the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012 when he sought and was granted asylum as he faced extradition to Sweden to be questioned over allegations of rape – which he denies.
He was on bail at the time, having been held and then freed by police, meaning he breached his bail conditions and cannot now leave without being arrested.
Mr Assange has maintained that if he travels to Sweden to defend himself, he will risk being extradited to the US to face trial over the Iraq war leaks.