Published 22nd August, 2013
The Liberal Party or Venstre (V) was founded in 1884 and is the oldest party in Norway. The party describes itself as Centrist (although the name means “Left”) and it believes in Liberalism and Social liberalism.
The Liberal Party was pretty much it in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In their first electoral outing in 1885 the party won 84 of the 114 seats in the Storting; although that dropped to 38 seats in 1888 they were back again in 1891 with 63 seats and in 1894 with 59 seats. Their best result ever came in 1897 when the Liberal Party took 79 of the 114 seats in the Storting.
By the early 1920s the party was starting to fade, much of this was due to a series of internal disputes which ripped the party apart and dropped from largest party in parliament to the fourth largest. The rot continued into the 1920s and by 1927 the party had won just 30 of the 150 seats in the Storting.
Nevertheless the Liberal Party formed, or was part of coalitions that formed, 12 of the 26 governments between 1884 and 1945.
After World War Two the party continued to decline. In 1945 it won 20 of 150 seats and in 1969 that had declined to 13 seats. In 1973, 1977 and 1981 the party managed to win just two seats, but in 1985 and 1989 they failed to reach the required threshold and had no seats in the Storting. In recent times they looked to be climbing back from the brink with 10 seats in 2005 but in 2009 they dropped back once more to just two seats.
Since the Second World War the Liberal Party has been a minor member of six coalition governments. Most recently they were members of Kjell Magne Bondevik’s Christian Democratic Party led governments of 1997 to 2000 and 2001 to 2005.
The current leader of the Liberal Party is Trine Skei Grande.
The Liberal Party is a member of the Liberal International and is also a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party.