Liberal Party (Norway)

The Liberal Party (Norwegian: Venstre, lit.'Left', V; Northern Sami: Gurutbellodat) is a centrist political party in Norway. It was founded in 1884 and it is the oldest political party in Norway. It is positioned in the centre on the political spectrum,[4] and it is a liberal party which has over the time enacted reforms such as parliamentarism, freedom of religion, universal suffrage and state schooling.[5][6][7][8]

Liberal Party
LeaderGuri Melby
Founded28 January 1884
HeadquartersMøllergata 16
0179 Oslo
Student wingLiberal Students of Norway
Youth wingYoung Liberals of Norway
Membership (2017) 7,057[1]
Political positionCentre
European affiliationAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
International affiliationLiberal International
Nordic affiliationCentre Group
Colours  Teal
8 / 169
County Councils[2]
39 / 728
Municipal Councils[3]
544 / 10,781
Sami Parliament
0 / 39

For most of the late 19th and early 20th century, it was Norway's largest and dominant political party, but in the postwar era it lost most of its support and became a relatively small party. The party has nevertheless participated in several centrist and centre-right government coalitions in the postwar era. It currently holds eight seats in the Parliament, and was previously a part of Norway's government together with the Conservative Party and the Christian Democratic Party. The leader of the party is Guri Melby.

The party is regarded as social-liberal[9][10][11][12] and advocates personal freedom under the pre-condition of an active state. Since the 1970s, the party has maintained a green liberal position,[13][14] which was an important part of the party profile when it came back to parliament in the 1990s. The Liberal Party was rated the second best party after the Green Party by the environmentalist organisation Framtiden i våre hender.[15] The party is also a strong supporter of multiculturalism, increased labour immigration to Norway, and relaxed integration measures.[16] It is supportive of Norway's membership in the European Union,[17] and the replacement of the monarchy with a republican form of government.[18]

Founded in 1884, then with the main support from farmers and progressive members of the bourgeoisie, it was the first political party that came into existence in Norway, and was the dominant government party for several decades. From the beginning it had a close relationship with the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights, which was founded in the same year by most of the Liberal Party's leading politicians, and the party played a central role in advocating for women's suffrage.[19] Since the 1880s, the party has seen many internal schisms. A politically moderate and religious wing broke out in 1888 to form the Moderate Liberal Party, and the conservative-liberal faction, including among them the first Prime Minister of Norway Christian Michelsen broke out in 1909 to form the Free-minded Liberal Party (both parties eventually merged into the Conservative Party). The most notable recent schism was in 1972, when the Liberal Party decided to oppose Norwegian membership in the European Economic Community (EEC), and the faction supporting membership broke out and formed the Liberal People's Party.[20]

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