Conservative Party (Norway)

Conservative Party
Leader Erna Solberg
Parliamentary leader Trond Helleland
Founded 25 August 1884
Headquarters Stortingsgaten 20
0161 Oslo (Høyres hus)
Youth wing Norwegian Young Conservatives
Membership 33,000 (2014)[1]
Ideology Conservatism
Liberal conservatism
Economic liberalism
Political position Centre-right
European affiliation European People's Party (associate)
International affiliation International Democrat Union
Colours Blue
Slogan "Muligheter for alle" (Opportunities for everyone)[2]
48 / 169
County Councils
167 / 728
Municipal Councils[3]
1,953 / 10,781
Sami Parliament[4]
2 / 39

The Conservative Party (Norwegian: Høyre, H, literally "right") is a conservative[5][6] and liberal-conservative[6][7][8] political party in Norway. It is the major party of the Norwegian centre-right, and the leading party in the governing Solberg cabinet. The current party leader is the Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.

In national elections in September 2013, voters ended eight years of Labour Party rule. A coalition of the Conservative Party and the Progress Party (FrP) entered office based on promises of tax cuts, better services and stricter rules on immigration, with the support of the Liberal Party and Christian Democratic Party. After winning the elections, Solberg said her win was "a historic election victory for the right-wing electoral bloc".[9]

The party advocates economic liberalism, reduction of taxes, and individual rights, and defines itself as a "conservative party of progress".[10] It has historically been the most outspokenly pro-European Union party in Norway, supporting Norwegian membership during both the 1972 and 1994 referendums.[11] The party generally supports semi-privatization through state-funded private services and tougher law and order measures.[12]

Founded in 1884, the Conservative Party is the second oldest political party in Norway after the Liberal Party.[13] In the interwar era, one of the main goals for the party was to achieve a centre-right alliance against the growing labour movement, when the party went into decline. In the post-war era until 2005 the party participated in six governments; two 1960s national governments (Lyng's Cabinet and Borten's Cabinet), one 1980s Conservative Party minority government (Willoch's First Cabinet), two 1980s three-party governments (Willoch's Second Cabinet and Syse's Cabinet), and in the 2000s Bondevik's Second Cabinet.[12]


Emil Stang, founder

The Conservative Party of Norway ("Høyre") was founded in 1884 after the implementation of parliamentarism in Norway. The jurist Emil Stang was elected the first chairman of the party. Stang underlined important principles for the work in Høyre. The party was to be a social party of reforms that worked within the constitutional frames set by a parliamentary democracy. Høyre's electoral support has varied. In the 1981-election, Høyre got 31.7%. It was the best election since 1924. The result in 1993 was 17%. This election was influenced by the EU membership issue which divided the Liberal Party. The 1997 parliamentary election resulted in the lowest support since 1945, with only 14.3% of the votes. Høyre has since then seen increased popular support, and got 21.3% in the 1999 local elections and 21.2% in the 2001 parliamentary election.

Throughout the years Høyre has supported a policy that aims to stimulate growth in order to avoid unemployment and raise economic strength to solve various necessary tasks in Norwegian society.

Early 1900s

In the beginning of the 20th century Høyre took the initiative to construct a modern Norwegian communications network. After the devastating First World War it was important for Høyre to work for the reconstruction of sound, economic politics. An example of this is the resolution Høyre passed in 1923 introducing old-age insurance. But because of the State's finances it was not possible to continue this effort. Høyre was the leading party in opposition in the post-war years in Norway. Høyre fought against the Labour Party's regulating policy. Høyre wanted another future for Norway consisting of private initiative and creative forces.

Høyre has been a protagonist in the construction of the welfare system in this country, and has on several occasions taken initiative to correct injustices in social care regulations. Additionally Høyre has advocated that the State's activity must concentrate on its basic problems and their solutions.

Post-war years

During the post-war years Høyre has consolidated its position as a party with appeal to all parts of the nation. Non-socialist co-operation as an alternative to socialism has always been one of Høyre's main aims. Høyre has led several coalition governments. The Christian Democratic Party was one of Høyre's coalition partners both in 1983–86 and 1989–90.

At the parliamentary election in 1993 it was impossible to present a credible non-socialist government alternative because Høyres former coalition parties, The Christian Democrats and the Centre Party both campaigned strongly against Norwegian membership in the EU.

Before the parliamentary election in 1997 the Labour party proclaimed that they would not be willing to govern the country if they did not obtain more than 36.9% of the votes. As it turned out, they got 35%, and other parties had to form government. Originally, there were serious discussions between Høyre, The Christian Democrats and Venstre to take on this task, but the end result was that the two latter parties joined forces with the Centre Party to create a minority government without Høyre.


In the parliamentary election in September 2001, Høyre obtained 21.2 percent of the votes. After a series of discussions Høyre was once again able to take part in a coalition government, this time with the Christian Democratic Party (KrF), and the Liberal Party (V). The total percentage obtained for these three parties at last general election was 37.5. Høyre, as the largest party in the coalition government, had 38 members in the present Storting, and 10 of the 19 ministers in the Government were Høyre representatives. Høyres three focal areas this period were to establish a rise in quality in Norways educational system, lowered taxes and a higher service level in state sectors.

In the 2005 parliamentary election, Høyre obtained 14.1% of the votes. The election outcome put Høyre back in opposition, and the party got 23 members in the present Storting.

In the 2009 parliamentary election, Høyre obtained 17.2% of the votes, and 30 members in the present Storting.

During the local elections of 2011, however, the party gained 27.6 percent of the vote, and it has since then, without exceptions, polled first and second.

In the 2013 parliamentary election, Høyre obtained 26.8 percent of the votes, and 48 members in the present Storting. Høyre formed a minority government, with confidence and supply from KrF and V.


Høyre is considered a reform party profess to the moderately conservative political tradition, adhering to the thoughts of Edmund Burke. The party is committed to fiscal free market policies, including tax cuts and relatively little government involvement in the economy. It does, however, support the continued existence of the Norwegian welfare state.

Høyre is also the only party in the Storting which proposes a reduction in public spending. The party is often associated with wealth and has historically been attacked by the left for defending the country's richest, though this argument is rarely presented any more. The Conservative Party's social policies are quite liberal: the party voted in 2008 for a law that recognised same-sex marriage and gay adoption rights.[14]

It is also in favour of Norwegian membership in the European Union, although stating that this is not a priority, nor realistic in the short term, as Norwegians have rejected membership in two referendums and opinion polls show that two-thirds of Norwegians oppose membership.


The party has 37,033 registered members (2012). The Central Board of the Conservative Party meets seven times a year to discuss important matters such as budget, organisational work, plans, party platforms, drawing up political lines.

List of party chairmen and leaders

Chairwoman and Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Former Prime Minister and Chairman Jan P. Syse
Former Prime Minister and Chairman Kåre Willoch

Parliamentary (Storting) elections 1906–2013

Distributions of seats for the parliamentary election in 2013
Date Votes Seats Size Notes
# % ± # ±
1906 88,323 32.8% −12.0
35 / 123
Decrease 27 2nd as the Coalition Party
1909 175,388* 41.5%* +8.7
64 / 123
Increase 29 1st government 1910−13
1912 162,074* 33.2%* −8.3
24 / 123
Decrease 40 2nd
1915 179,028* 29.0%* −4.2
21 / 123
Decrease 3 2nd
1918 201,325* 30.4%* +1.4
49 / 126
Increase 28 2nd government 1920−21
1921 301,372* 33.3%* +2.9
57 / 150
Increase 8 1st government 1923−24
1924 316,846* 32.5%* −0.8
54 / 150
Decrease 3 1st government 1926−28
1927 240,091* 24.0%* −8.5
31 / 150
Decrease 23 3rd
1930 327,731* 27.4%* +3.4
44 / 150
Increase 13 2nd
1933 252,506* 20.2%* −7.2
30 / 150
Decrease 14 2nd
1936 310,324* 21.3%* +1.1
36 / 150
Increase 6 2nd
1945 252,608 17.0% −4.3
25 / 150
Decrease 11 2nd
1949 279,790** 18.3%** +1.3
23 / 150
Decrease 2 2nd
1953 327,971** 18.6%** +0.3
27 / 150
Increase 4 2nd
1957 301,395** 18.9%** +0.3
29 / 150
Increase 2 2nd
1961 354,369** 20.0%** +1.1
29 / 150
Steady 0 2nd government 1963
1965 415,612** 21.1%** +1.1
31 / 150
Increase 2 2nd government 1965−69
1969 406,209** 19.6%** −1.5
29 / 150
Decrease 2 2nd government 1969−71
1973 370,370** 17.4%** −2.2
29 / 155
Steady 0 2nd
1977 563,783** 24.8%** +7.4
41 / 155
Increase 12 2nd
1981 780,372 31.7% +6.9
53 / 155
Increase 12 2nd government 1981−85
1985 791,537 30.4% −1.3
50 / 157
Decrease 3 2nd government 1985−86
1989 588,682 22.2% −8.2
37 / 165
Decrease 13 2nd government 1989−90
1993 419,373 17.0% −5.2
28 / 165
Decrease 9 3rd
1997 370,441 14.3% −2.7
23 / 165
Decrease 5 3rd
2001 534,852 21.2% +6.9
38 / 165
Increase 15 2nd government 2001−05
2005 372,008 14.1% −7.1
23 / 169
Decrease 15 3rd
2009 462,465 17.2% +3.1
30 / 169
Increase 7 3rd
2013 760,232 26.8% +9.6
48 / 169
Increase 18 2nd government 2013−

See also


  1. "Høyres medlemstall faller markant". Dagens Næringsliv. 19 January 2015.
  2. "Høyres ideologi" (in Norwegian). Høyre Nord-Trøndelag. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  3. "Høgre". Valg 2011 (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  5. "Norway - Political parties". Norsk samfunnsvitenskapelig datatjeneste.
  6. 1 2 "Høyre". Store norske leksikon. "Høyre er et norsk konservativt politisk parti... Høyres politikk bygger på tankegods fra konservatismen og liberalismen."
  7. Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  8. "Valgomaten: Riksdekkende 2007". Aftenposten. 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  9. "Norway election: Erna Solberg to form new government" BBC News Sept. 9, 2013
  10. Wayne C. Thompson (2012) Nordic, Central and Southeastern Europe 2012, p.54.
  11. Tvedt, Knut Are (31 October 2009). Pettersen, Henrik, ed. "Store norske leksikon" (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. |contribution= ignored (help)
  12. 1 2 Helljesen, Vilje; Bakken, Laila Ø. "Høyre - skatter, skole og frihet". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  13. "Partienes historie". Eidsvoll 1814. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  14. John Kaare Bjerkan: Historisk vedtak NRK, 11 June 2008

External links

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