Labour Party

Published 22nd August, 2013

The Labour Party or Arbeiderpartiet (A/Ap) was founded in 1887 when trade unionism was spreading across the nation. The party describes itself as Centre-left and believes in Social democracy.

The Labour Party won its first seats in 1904, taking four seats in the Storting. From there it grew to around 6,200 members and took over 30% of the vote by 1915.

After the First World War the Labour Party was taken over by the left-wing which was influenced by the Bolsheviks. In 1921 an anti-Bolshevik splinter group, the Social Democratic Party was formed and the Communist Party was formed in 1923. It wasn’t until 1927 that the Labour Party reunified and took 36.8% of the vote and 59 of the 150 seats in the Storting to make it the largest party. It has remained the largest party ever since although not always in government.

In 1933 the party won 40% of the vote and two years later formed its second government. After World War Two the Labour Party took 76 of the 150 seats in the Storting and remained in government until 1965 apart from a month in 1963.

The party was again in government from 1971 to 1972 and between 1973 and 1981 the party formed a series of minority governments. Labour was again in a minority government in 1986 having taken 71 of the 157 seats in the Storting the previous September. Although they lost eight seats in 1989, taking them down to 63 of the 165 seats in the Storting, the Labour Party formed a government in 1990, won again in 1993 with 67 seats but lost two seats in 1997 and was nominally in opposition from that point for the next two and a half years.

A new leader, Jens Stoltenberg, came into office in 2000 but had a catastrophic election in 2001, dropping 22 seats to fall back to 43 seats in the 165 seat parliament. Stoltenberg worked with other party leaders to form the Red-Green Coalition, a centre-left coalition with the Labour Party, the Socialist Left Party (SV) and the Centre Party (Sp). They were successful in the 2005 election taking 87 of the 167 seats in the Storting of which Labour won 61 seats.

In 2009, although the Centre-right parties won more votes, the Red-Green Coalition won more seats, taking 86 seats and went on to form the government once more.

The Labour Party is a member of the Progressive Alliance and an observer member of Socialist International. The party is a member of the Party of European Socialists and is also a member of the Joint Committee of the Nordic Social Democratic Labour Movement (SAMAK).

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