Venstre, Liberal Party of Denmark
Published 28th August, 2011
Venstre or Venstre, Liberal Party Denmark or VDLP (Party letter – V) was founded in June 1870 in opposition to the then Højre (or right), hence the derivation of the Venstre which means Left but which simply reflects the opposite to right. The party is, in reality a liberal party with its roots in free market liberalism and describes itself as a centre-right party.
It is a member of Liberal International, the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party. In the European parliament it is part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
The party came to prominence in the 1880s and remained the largest party for much of the period up to 1924. With one or two exceptions the party remained in opposition for much of the time until 1950 when it formed a coalition government. Along with the Conservative People’s Party the Venstre coalition brought in the new constitution of 1953 which introduced a unicameral parliament.
From 1953 until 1968 when it entered into a coalition with the Conservative People’s Party (KF) and the Danish Social Liberal Party (RV) the Venstre was out of power. The coalition lasted until 1971 and in 1973 the party had its worst result to date, being reduced to just 22 seats but remained in government. Although it doubled its number of seats in 1975 it decided to go into opposition and then did badly until 1994, although it was a junior member of several coalition governments.
In 1994 and 1998 the party did much better, gaining 42 seats in both elections but remained in opposition. In 2001 it took 56 seats and formed a centre-right coalition with the Conservative People’s Party (KF).
In 2005 it won a second term in coalition with the Conservative People’s Party (KF) and with the support of the Danish People’s Party (DF).
In 2007 they won again and entered into a similar arrangement with the two other parties, their leader, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, becoming prime minister. He stood down in 2009 to become the 12th Secretary General of NATO and was replaced by Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
Venstre has three of the 13 Danish members in the European Parliament.