Moderate Liberal Party

The Moderate Liberal Party (Norwegian: Moderate Venstre, literally "Moderate Left") was a political party in Norway that emerged from the moderate and religious branches of the Liberal Party in 1888. The party's turn towards cooperation with the Conservative Party caused a party split in 1891, eventually sharpening its profile as a moderate-conservative party based among the low church of south-western Norway. The party was dissolved shortly after the dissolution of the union with Sweden in 1905.

Moderate Liberal Party
Moderate Venstre
Split fromLiberal Party
Merged intoConservative Party
IdeologyChristian democracy[2]
Social conservatism[3]
Pietistic revivalism[4]
Unionism (from 1893)[5]
Political positionCentre[5][6]
National affiliationCoalition Party (1903–06)


The Moderate Liberal Party was formed on 4 February 1888, when a conservative and religious wing broke away from the Liberal Party.[1][3] Leading members of the party included Jakob Sverdrup, Baard Haugland,[7] Ole Vollan, and Lars Oftedal.[1] The political conflicts between the Liberals and Conservatives in 1891 resulted in a split among the Moderates themselves, with the more left-leaning Moderates returning to the mother party. The split resulted in a more uniformed profile as the remaining party sharpened its opposition against the "pure" Liberals and became more supportive towards the Conservatives.[5]

In the mid-1890s the party's central goal became to work against the Liberals' increasingly radical policy of challenging the union with Sweden, granting the population general voting rights, and introducing direct state taxes. The split of 1891 also caused the party to become more firmly based among the revivalist low church of south-western Norway.[5] As such, other important issues for the party included temperance, religion and moral, while it took centrist stands in regards to social and economical questions.[6] The party gained an eastern Norway counterpart in 1893 by the party Centre, the "Eastern Moderates", and for a brief time there was talks of a merger between the two parties.[5]

From 1895 to 1898 the party was represented in Hagerup's First Cabinet.[1] In 1903, the party joined the Coalition Party alongside the Conservatives. It was part of Michelsen's Cabinet during the dissolution of the union with Sweden, from 1905 until 1906 when it effectively merged into the Conservative Party after the introduction of single-member districts.[1][3] Magnus Halvorsen is however registered under the Moderate Liberal label as Minister of Finance in Løvland's Cabinet from 1907 to 1908.[8] The party had never developed any strong party organisation, functioning more as a vehicle for individual representatives.[4][5]

The party has sometimes been described as a Christian democratic predecessor to the modern Christian Democratic Party, founded in 1933.[2][9]

Election resultsEdit

Date Votes Seats Size Notes
% # ±
1888 19.5%
25 / 114
  25 3rd
1891 49.2%*
16 / 114
  9 3rd
1894 49.3%*
15 / 114
  1 3rd government 1895-98
1897 46.7%*
10 / 114
  5 3rd
1900 40.8%*
6 / 114
  4 3rd
1903 44.8%*
10 / 114
  4 3rd government 1905-06
  • *Indicates shared vote between the Moderate Liberals and Conservatives. Seats indicated are the Moderate Liberals alone.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Moderate Venstre, Det". Tidens leksikon (in Norwegian). Tiden. 1975. p. 365. ISBN 8210009222.
  2. ^ a b Fitjar, Rune Dahl (2009). The Rise of Regionalism: Causes of Regional Mobilization in Western Europe. Routledge. p. 120. ISBN 9781135203306.
  3. ^ a b c "Det Moderate Venstre". Norsk samfunnsvitenskapelig datatjeneste.
  4. ^ a b Jeffrey K. Hadden, Anson D. Shupe (1988). The Politics of religion and social change. Paragon House. p. 296. ISBN 9780913757765. In the 1888 election, the moderate left, which drew much of its support from the radical revivalists of the south and west, emerged as a largely regional party more or less closely associated with radical revivalism. The party was little more than a vehicle for individual representatives, however, and never developed a distinctive program.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c d e f Kaartvedt, Alf (1984). Drømmen om borgerlig samling: 1884-1918 (in Norwegian). Cappelen. pp. 122–124. ISBN 8202049903.
  6. ^ a b Danielsen, Rolf; Dyrvik, Ståle; Grønlie, Tore; Helle, Knut; Hovland, Edgar (1991). Grunntrekk i norsk historie (1 ed.). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. p. 249. ISBN 978-82-00-21273-7.
  7. ^ Mardal, Magnus A. (11 March 2009). "Moderate Venstre". Store norske leksikon.
  8. ^ "Jøgen Løvland's Government: 23 October 1907 - 19 March 1908".
  9. ^ Allern, Elin Haugsgjerd (2010). Political Parties and Interest Groups in Norway. ECPR Press. pp. 23–24. ISBN 9780955820366.

External LinksEdit