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ANALYSIS: History repeating in Austria? Not so fast

Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPÖ waits for the start of his first parliament session as Vice-Chanc..

Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPÖ waits for the start of his first parliament session as Vice-Chancellor in Vienna on December 20th. Photo: AFP

The new coalition in Austria is not simply a re-enactment of the 2000 coalition between conservatives and the far-right, and that makes it far more dangerous, argues Itay Lotem, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Westminster.

As clichés go, one of the most resistant claims of all is that “history repeats itself”. As teenagers, many of us used it to show wisdom beyond our years, or at least to make sure our A-Level history essays got the conclusion they deserved. And yet it is just a cliché. While events follow certain patterns and structures, history does not repeat itself. The same applies to the latest blast from the past in Austria, the European harbinger of far-right politics. A new coalition government between the conservative ÖVP and the far-right FPÖ triggers comparisons with the past, both as a “return of fascism” and a “repeat” of the last such coalition in 2000.

Particularly right now, as 2017 seems to have been all about the rise of the far-right in Europe, the comparison with 2000 seems encouraging. Back then, the EU took steps to boycott the new government, which it perceived as the first far-right coalition in post-war Western Europe. At the same time, the government’s dysfunctionality led to its collapse within two years, the ensuing elections resulted in a big win for the ÖVP and a split of the far-right party.

This time, however, there is every reason to believe the coalition will survive a full term. As another cliché goes, 2017 is not 2000. The last two decades have witnessed changes in the ways far-right parties operate, and Austria is a case in point. Internal party changes, national developments and the transformation of European politics all point out that this coalition will be far more stable than its predecessor.

Internally, the FPÖ has learnt from its own mistakes. Back in the 1999 elections, it was propelled to electoral victory by the new adoption of populism that blurred its Nazi continuities and by the flamboyant personality of Jörg Haider, the then head of party. Haider was a gifted campaigner who harnessed protest votes to support the FPÖ as a pure opposition party. In government, however, the party lacked the most basic parliamentary experience. The FPÖ not only cracked under the strain of internal egos and competitions, it also got easily outmanoeuvred by its more experienced partners.

Ever since, however, the FPÖ has gained experience on state level and learned from its mistakes. This time around, it campaigned as a party of government. Furthermore, the coalition will provide less opportunities for inner-party strife. In 2000, Haider, the face of the party, was left outside the government and became increasingly marginalised and embittered. Today, the party’s two leading men, Heinz Christian Strache and Norbert Hofer, will both participate in the government, thus creating a more “parliamentary” movement and minimising the effect of Strache’s personality cult.

On a national level, the FPÖ performance is no longer a shock victory, but a long expected result. The big winner of these elections was the ÖVP, which gained from Sebastian Kurz’s personal campaigning over the party’s head. The young Chancellor was responsible for an ÖVP victory and an underperformance of the FPÖ. He gained support through a nativist platform, which always included a coalition with the far-right. While the aftermath of the 1999 elections saw a proliferation of anti-FPÖ demonstrations, Austrian civil society greeted this coalition with a shrug. After all, this was what people voted for.

Internationally, there is no reason to expect the EU to initiate any pressure comparable to the 2000 boycott. Despite impassioned calls to do so on some Western European Left-leaning journals, the new coalition with the far-right will not be the exception it was in 2000. Despite the specificities of Austrian continuities to Nazism, the EU will have a hard time singling out an Austrian government in the current climate.

For once, the Austrian coalition is predicted to be far more moderate than the current majorities of the Polish and Hungarian parliaments. Moreover, while the Austrian participation of a far-right party in power is indeed exceptional for the Western-European context, it is doubtful whether its character will be any different to the Danish government’s reliance on the far-right, the Dutch government’s appropriation of the far-right’s nativism or the British government’s Brexiteering touch.

This time around the FPÖ is far better prepared for government than in 2000 and is unlikely to implode under pressure. For outside observers, the FPÖ’s performance matters to see what happens to a far-right party that sets realistic expectations and participates in government as a junior coalition partner. For once, how much influence will the party exert over policy making (beyond its ability to toxify the public discourse)? When the FPÖ caves in to compromise on economic issues, how much understanding will its electorate show? And lastly, will an anti-establishment party be able to sustain its position after a term as junior member of the, well, establishment?

Indeed, while history never repeats itself, Austria can be counted on to provide insights into the working of the far-right. To find adequate means to counter its latest successes, following developments in this small Alpine country might be just the place to start. As the far-right re-invents itself into parties of government rather than pure protest, it becomes ever more pressing to devise better strategies to fight the roots that help it grow in so many places.

Dr Itay Lotem is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern Languages and Culture at the University of Westminster in the UK.

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Argonaut Resources directors show faith in company by participating in oversubscribed SPP

Argonaut Resources NL (ASX:ARE) directors have demonstrated their faith in the company’s copper-zinc strategy by participating in the recently closed share purchase plan (SPP).

Independent non-executive chairman Patrick Elliot purchased more than 4.465 million shares at 0.55 cents per share in an indirect interest.

He now holds 5,876,159 shares in that interest with another 20,324,574 held in a separate indirect interest.

Independent non-executive chairman Malcolm Richmond acquired more than 5.454 million shares in a direct interest, increasing the number held in this interest to almost 15 million with another 1 million held in an indirect interest.

Overwhelming response to SPP[hhmc]
The company was overwhelmed by the response to its SPP which closed early and more than twice oversubscribed with the target subsequently increased to $2.5 million from $1.2 million.

Subscriptions in excess of $3 million were received and as a result, the SPP was closed with immediate effect.

Money ..

Argonaut Resources NL (ASX:ARE) directors have demonstrated their faith in the company’s copper-zinc strategy by participating in the recently closed share purchase plan (SPP).

Independent non-executive chairman Patrick Elliot purchased more than 4.465 million shares at 0.55 cents per share in an indirect interest.

He now holds 5,876,159 shares in that interest with another 20,324,574 held in a separate indirect interest.

Independent non-executive chairman Malcolm Richmond acquired more than 5.454 million shares in a direct interest, increasing the number held in this interest to almost 15 million with another 1 million held in an indirect interest.

Overwhelming response to SPP


The company was overwhelmed by the response to its SPP which closed early and more than twice oversubscribed with the target subsequently increased to $2.5 million from $1.2 million.

Subscriptions in excess of $3 million were received and as a result, the SPP was closed with immediate effect.

Money raised under this SPP and from the recently completed $2.7 million share placeRead More – Source

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Australia

Strickland Metals shares jump 39% ahead of drilling base metal target near DeGrussa

Strickland Metals Ltd (ASX:STK) shares surged 39% today ahead of its maiden drilling program at the Doolgunna Project, which will include a diamond drilling program that is likely to begin by the end of this month.

As a part of the program, a minimum of four diamond holes will be drilled to a depth of 500 metres to test a VMS target similar to the nearby DeGrussa deposit of Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR).

Heritage survey[hhmc]
Exploration activity has recommenced on the Doolgunna Project following completion of heritage surveys to allow land access to areas where the company wishes to complete exploration drilling.

The target for drilling is a compelling base metal prospect that exhibits geological characteristics that are interpreted to be similar to Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa deposit about 30 kilometres to the east of the project.

The prospect has a 3-kilometre-long electromagnetic conductor that lies below an outcropping copper-zinc gossan that has been mapped over a 1.2-kilomet..

Strickland Metals Ltd (ASX:STK) shares surged 39% today ahead of its maiden drilling program at the Doolgunna Project, which will include a diamond drilling program that is likely to begin by the end of this month.

As a part of the program, a minimum of four diamond holes will be drilled to a depth of 500 metres to test a VMS target similar to the nearby DeGrussa deposit of Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR).

Heritage survey


Exploration activity has recommenced on the Doolgunna Project following completion of heritage surveys to allow land access to areas where the company wishes to complete exploration drilling.

The target for drilling is a compelling base metal prospect that exhibits geological characteristics that are interpreted to be similar to Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa deposit about 30 kilometres to the east of the project.

The prospect has a 3-kilometre-long electromagnetic conductor that lies below an outcropping copper-zinc gossan that has been mapped over a 1.2-kilometre strike.

Diamond core drilling


The company plans to start the diamond core drilling by the end of this month.

A multi-purpose drill rig has been contracted to enable the minimum planned program wRead More – Source

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Australia

Pan Asia Metals has positive discussions on plans for Thai lithium project

Pan Asia Metals Ltd (ASX:PAM) has had positive discussions with authorities in Phang Nga Province, Thailand, including the provincial government, for its Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

PAM has submitted a presentation covering all aspects of the project including methods of ongoing exploration, conceptual mining and concentrate production, and the potential for downstream value-adding industries in Phang Nga and Thailand.

The presentation and subsequent discussions were aimed at assisting Phang Nga Provincial Government in their considerations for the proposed mining and industrial development areas.

Provincial Government discussions[hhmc]
Pan Asia was recently invited by the chief executive officer of the Phang Nga Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO), a Phang Nga Provincial Government coordinating body, to represent PAM and the Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

The meeting was also attended by the head of Phang Nga Provincial Industry along with the representatives of the Phang Ng..

Pan Asia Metals Ltd (ASX:PAM) has had positive discussions with authorities in Phang Nga Province, Thailand, including the provincial government, for its Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

PAM has submitted a presentation covering all aspects of the project including methods of ongoing exploration, conceptual mining and concentrate production, and the potential for downstream value-adding industries in Phang Nga and Thailand.

The presentation and subsequent discussions were aimed at assisting Phang Nga Provincial Government in their considerations for the proposed mining and industrial development areas.

Provincial Government discussions


Pan Asia was recently invited by the chief executive officer of the Phang Nga Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO), a Phang Nga Provincial Government coordinating body, to represent PAM and the Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

The meeting was also attended by the head of Phang Nga Provincial Industry along with the representatives of the Phang Nga Provincial Public Works and Town Planning Office.

Phang Nga Provincial Industry head has been appointed by the Phang Nga governor as chairman of the Phang Nga New Town Planning Committee.

During the meeting, the chairman of the committee conveyed its support for the Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

PAO wants to ensure that the requirements of the Reung Kiet project are incorporated into the town planning committee’s zoning plans to ensure that the project can progress once exploration and feasibility results prove positive.

“Can bring opportunities”


PAM managing director Paul Lock said: “We have been working hard in Phang Nga province and we are very happy with the positive reception that the Reung Kiet Lithium Project is receiving from the Phang Nga Provincial Government and surrounding communities.

“Reung Kiet is strategically located and based on peer feasibility work the project is positioned to potentially be one of the lowest-cost suppliers of lithium chemicals in the global peer group.

“This is a project that can bring substantial opportunities and value to Phang Nga and Thailand.”

Pan Asia is planning its second Reung Kiet drilling program with expectations that this will begin in the coming months following the conclusion of the current Khao Soon drilling program.

Potential cost curve leader


Reung Kiet is a hard rock project with lepidolite rich pegmatites chiefly composed of quartz, albite and lepidolite with minor cassiterite and tantalite as well as other accessory minerals including some rare earth.

Lepidolite does not require roasting and has a suite of by-products which are recoverable at the concentrator and processing stages of the flow sheet.

Peer feasibility work has Read More – Source

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