Wikileaks Party candidate Leslie Cannold resigns after internal fighting over preferences, “others will also resign”

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The Wikileaks Party appears to be in turmoil with its second Victorian seat candidate Leslie Cannold resigning from the party after several members of the party were planning to bypass the National Council and would not conduct an independent review which was announced today.

If the Wikileaks Party was successful in getting a seat in Victoria, then Julian Assange would hold the seat. However, if he is unable to leave the UK, then Cannold would take his place in the Senate.

Cannold said that she fought for an independent review into the preferences debacle, but it came at a cost. “Those who fought for the review felt tired and disillusioned. We met this morning and after hours of soul-searching decided that we would battle on,” Cannold said in a statement.

“How else could we ensure the review had proper terms of reference and that the results were produced expeditiously and released to the public?”

However, she said that just after that statement was made, a party member “rang two key volunteers in succession and requested that they join with him in going outside the party’s formal structures” in order to bypass the National Council. The same party member is also said to have called a campaign staffer and said that the independent review would no longer be independent.

“An additional call was made to a campaign staffer. In direct contrast to the public statement The Wikileaks Party put out this morning in which we promised the public that we would have an immediate independent review of the preference outcomes, this person said that the review would be delayed until after the election and that it wouldn’t be done independently. The caller would run it,” Cannold said in her resignation statement.

“This is the final straw. 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. But where a party member makes a bid to subvert the party’s own processes, asking others to join in a secret, alternative power centre that subverts the properly constituted one, nothing makes sense anymore,” she continued.

“This is an unacceptable mode of operation for any organization but even more so for an organization explicitly committed to democracy, transparency and accountability.”

Cannold also said that, based on her understanding, “others will also resign today”.

“Some are leaving today. Some are considering their position. I have respect for any decision they make – we each have to do what we must to keep faith with ourselves and those who trust us,” she said.