Assange set to stay in Ecuador embassy as leftist on verge of winning election
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange dodged an eviction order in Ecuador's Sunday election, after the right-wing candidate who had vowed to kick him out of the country's London embassy was set to narrowly lose a presidential election, Reuters says.
Assange has been holed up in the tiny embassy for nearly five years, protected by Ecuador's current leftist government from extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.
Conservative presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso had vowed to roll back that welcome mat and remove Assange within 30 days of winning office, making global headlines and spooking Assange's supporters.
As it became clear Lasso was on the verge of defeat, Assange sent him a tongue-in-cheek message on Sunday night.
"I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions)," wrote Assange on Twitter, amid accusations that Lasso had dodged taxes by stashing cash abroad.
Government candidate Lenin Moreno, meanwhile, has promised to keep hosting Assange in the Andean country's embassy - although he warned he may take a tougher stance.
Moreno said in an interview with leftist broadcaster TeleSUR in February that he would ask Assange "not to intervene in the politics of countries that are friends of Ecuador."