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Venstre[note 1] (Danish pronunciation: [ˈvɛnstʁɐ], literally "left"), full name Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti (English: Left, Denmark's Liberal Party), is a conservative-liberal,[2][3][4] agrarian[10] political party in Denmark. Founded as part of a peasants' movement against the landed aristocracy, today it espouses an economically liberal pro-free market ideology.[6]

Venstre, Denmark's Liberal Party

Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti
LeaderLars Løkke Rasmussen
Founded1870, total reform in 1910
HeadquartersSøllerødvej 30
2840 Holte
Youth wingVenstres Ungdom
Student wingLiberal Students of Denmark
Membership (2016)35,957[1]
IdeologyConservative liberalism[2][3][4]
Agrarianism[4][5] (Nordic)
Economic liberalism[6]
Political positionCentre-right[7]
European affiliationAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
International affiliationLiberal International
European Parliament groupAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
ColoursBlue
Folketing:
43 / 179
European Parliament:
4 / 14
Regions:[8]
688 / 2,444
Municipalities:[9]
688 / 2,432
Mayors:
37 / 98
Election symbol
V
Website
www.venstre.dk

Venstre is the major party of the centre-right in Denmark, and the second largest party in the country. The party has produced many Prime Ministers. Denmark's current government is a minority government consisting of Venstre, the Liberal Alliance, and the Conservative People's Party, with external support from the Danish People's Party. In the 2015 parliamentary elections, Venstre received 19.5% of the vote, and 34 out of 179 seats. It is led by Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who took over as party leader and Prime Minister from Anders Fogh Rasmussen when the latter became Secretary General of NATO in 2009.

The party is a member of Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). Three/Four of Denmark's thirteen/fourteen MEPs are from Venstre in the 2019-24 term of office, and they sit with the ALDE Group in the European Parliament.[11]

Contents

IdeologyEdit

Venstre is categorised as centre-right on the political spectrum.[7] It is a market liberal party[12] within the Nordic agrarian tradition,[13] and today is notably more pro-free market than its sister parties.[14] Some describe it as classical liberal, since its leader from 1998 to 2009, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is known for his authorship of the book From Social State to Minimal State. His book advocated an extensive reform of the Danish welfare state along classical liberal lines, including lower taxes and less government interference in corporate and individual matters.

Since the elections in 2001, Venstre has enacted a so-called "tax stop" in order to halt the growth in taxes seen during the previous eight years under the Social Democrats. This tax stop has been under heavy fire from the parties on the left wing of Danish politics, allegedly for being "asocial" and "only for the rich."[15][16]

HistoryEdit

 
Venstre 1945 election material ("Venstre has been dealt a good hand")

Venstre, or "the Left" in English, was founded in 1870 under the name Det Forenede Venstre (The United Left). It was formed through the merger of three parliamentary factions, all of whom had identified as leftist in the context of the time. From 1895 to 1910 it was known as Venstrereformpartiet (Left Reform Party), and after that simply as Venstre.

Venstre was traditionally a party advocating free trade and farmers' interests as opposed to the interests of the aristocracy which were the platform of the then conservative party, Højre (The Right). This traditional landed basis resulted in a relative decline in influence due to the rapidly accelerating urbanisation of Danish society. Starting in the 1880s, the party began expanding into urban regions as well.

By the 1910s, the splitting off of the Social Liberals and the appearance of the Social Democrats had pushed Venstre toward the centre, and it often relied on its former conservative adversaries for parliamentary support. After the 1960s these developments reoriented Venstre from a classical liberal party to conservative liberalism. During the leadership of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the party turned further to the right[citation needed].

List of government participationEdit

  • 1901–1909 (as the Venstre Reform Party)
  • 1910–1913
  • 1920–1924
  • 1926–1929
  • 1945–1947
  • 1950–53 with the Conservative People's Party
  • 1968–71 with the Conservative People's Party and the Danish Social Liberal Party
  • 1973–75
  • 1978–79 with the Social Democratic Party
  • 1982–88 with the Conservative People's Party, Centre Democrats, and the Christian People's Party (junior partner)
  • 1988–90 with the Conservative People's Party and Social Liberal Party (junior partner)
  • 1990–93 with the Conservative People's Party
  • 2001–11 with the Conservative People's Party (senior partner)
  • 2015–16
  • 2016– with the Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People's Party

Prime MinistersEdit

Leaders since 1929Edit

Leader Took office Left office Time in office
1Madsen, ThomasThomas Madsen-Mygdal
(1876–1943)
1929194111–12 years
2Kristensen, KnudKnud Kristensen
(1880–1962)
194119497–8 years
3Sørensen, EdvardEdvard Sørensen
(1893–1954)
194919500–1 years
4Eriksen, ErikErik Eriksen
(1902–1972)
195024 May 196514–15 years
5Hartling, PoulPoul Hartling
(1914–2000)
24 May 1965December 197712 years
6Christophersen, HenningHenning Christophersen
(1939–2016)
September 197823 July 19845 years
7Ellemann, UffeUffe Ellemann-Jensen
(born 1941)
23 July 198418 March 199813 years
8Rasmussen, AndersAnders Fogh Rasmussen
(born 1953)
18 March 199817 May 200911 years
9Rasmussen, LarsLars Løkke Rasmussen
(born 1964)
17 May 2009Incumbent10 years

Origin of the nameEdit

The fact that the major centre-right political party in a country calls itself 'Left' is often confusing to foreign (and sometimes Danish) observers. The name has, however, its historical explanation. At the time of its foundation, Venstre affirmed then-progressive ideas in the Danish parliament. Their opponents, Højre (Right), the forerunner of the present-day Conservative People's Party, advocated for established interests, particularly the Church of Denmark and the landed gentry. In current Danish politics there is a clear distinction between the concepts of Venstre (Left, i.e. the party bearing that name) and venstrefløj (left wing, i.e. socialist and other left-leaning parties). The use of the word for "left" in the name of the Danish political party Radikale Venstre and the Norwegian party Venstre is meant to refer to liberalism and not socialism.

Members of the party are referred to as venstremænd and venstrekvinder, respectively "Venstre men" and "Venstre women" (singular: -mand, -kvinde).

Election resultsEdit

ParliamentEdit

Election year # of overall votes % of overall vote % of Danish vote # of overall seats won # of Danish seats won +/- Notes
1872
53 / 104
New In Det Forenede Venstre.
1873
51 / 104
  2 In Det Forenede Venstre.
1876
74 / 104
  23 In Folketingets Venstre.
1879
65 / 104
  9 In Folketingets Venstre.
1881 (may)
69 / 102
  4 In Folketingets Venstre.
1881 (jul)
75 / 102
  6 In Folketingets Venstre.
1884 80,000 56.3 (#1)
81 / 102
  6 In Venstre Reform Party.
1887 132,000 58.1 (#1)
74 / 102
  7 In Venstre Reform Party.
1890 123,000 53.0 (#1)
75 / 102
  1 In Venstre Reform Party.
1892 63,000 28.1 (#3)
30 / 102
  45 In Venstre Reform Party.
1895 89,530 40.5 (#1)
53 / 114
  23 In Venstre Reform Party.
1898 98,070 43.6 (#1)
63 / 114
  10 In Venstre Reform Party.
1901 103,495 45.9 (#1)
76 / 114
  13 In Venstre Reform Party.
1903 121,357 49.4 (#1)
73 / 114
  3 In Venstre Reform Party.
1906 94,272 31.2 (#1)
56 / 114
  17 In Venstre Reform Party.
1909 77,949 24.0 (#1)
37 / 114
  19 In Venstre Reform Party.
1910 118,902 34.1 (#1)
57 / 114
  20
1913 103,917 28.6 (#2)
44 / 114
  13
1915
43 / 114
  1
1918 269,646 29.4 (#1)
45 / 140
  2
1920 (apr) 350,563 34.2 (#1)
48 / 140
48 / 139
  3
1920 (jul) 344,351 36.1 (#1)
51 / 140
51 / 139
  3
1920 (sep) 411,661 34.0 (#1)
51 / 149
51 / 148
  0
1924 362,682 28.3 (#2)
44 / 149
44 / 148
  7
1926 378,137 28.3 (#2)
46 / 149
46 / 148
  2
1929 402,121 28.3 (#2)
43 / 149
43 / 148
  3
1932 381,862 24.7 (#2)
38 / 149
38 / 148
  5
1935 292,247 17.8 (#2)
28 / 149
28 / 148
  10
1939 309,355 18.2 (#2)
30 / 149
30 / 148
  2
1943 376,850 18.7 (#3)
28 / 149
28 / 148
  2
1945 479,158 23.4 (#2)
38 / 149
38 / 148
  10
1947 529,066 25.4 (#2)
46 / 150
46 / 149
  8
1950 438,188 21.3 (#2)
32 / 151
32 / 149
  14
1953 (apr) 456,896 22.1 (#2)
33 / 151
33 / 149
  1
1953 (sep) 499,656 23.1 (#2)
42 / 179
42 / 175
  9
1957 578,932 25.1 (#2)
45 / 179
45 / 175
  3
1960 512,041 21.1 (#2)
38 / 179
38 / 175
  7
1964 547,770 20.8 (#2)
38 / 179
38 / 175
  0 leading the opposition
1966 539,027 19.3 (#2)
35 / 179
35 / 175
  3 leading the opposition
1968 530,167 18.6 (#3)
34 / 179
34 / 175
  1 part of the Social Liberal-led government
1971 450,904 15.6 (#3)
30 / 179
30 / 175
  4 part of the opposition
1973 374,283 12.3 (#3)
22 / 179
22 / 175
  8
1975 711,298 23.3 (#2)
42 / 179
42 / 175
  20
1977 371,728 12.0 (#3)
21 / 179
21 / 175
  21
1979 396,484 12.5 (#2)
22 / 179
22 / 175
  1
1981 353,280 11.3 (#4)
20 / 179
20 / 175
  2
1984 405,737 12.1 (#3)
22 / 179
22 / 175
  2
1987 354,291 10.5 (#4)
19 / 179
19 / 175
  3
1988 394,190 11.8 (#4)
22 / 179
22 / 175
  3
1990 511,643 15.8 (#3)
29 / 179
29 / 175
  7
1994 775,176 23.3 (#2)
42 / 179
42 / 175
  13
1998 817,894 24.0 (#2)
42 / 179
42 / 175
  0
2001 1,077,858 31.2 (#1)
56 / 179
56 / 175
  14 leading of the government coalition
2005 974,636 29.0 (#1)
52 / 179
52 / 175
  4 leading of the government coalition
2007 908,472 26.2 (#1)
46 / 179
46 / 175
  6 leading of the government coalition
2011 947,725 26.7 (#1)
47 / 179
47 / 175
  1 leading the opposition
2015 685,188 19.5 (#3)
34 / 179
34 / 175
  13 2015–16: single-party minority government
2016– : coalition minority government
2019 825,486 23.4 (#2)
43 / 179
43 / 175
  9 TBD

Municipal electionsEdit

Election Seats
# ±
1925
2,291 / 11,289
New
1929
2,615 / 11,329
  324
1933
2,692 / 11,424
  77
1937
2,374 / 11,425
  318
1943
2,217 / 10,569
  157
1946
2,519 / 11,488
  302
1950
2,342 / 11,499
  177
1954
2,353 / 11,505
  11
1958
2,405 / 11,529
  52
1962
2,196 / 11,414
  209
1966
1,747 / 10,005
  449
1970
1,080 / 4,677
  667
1974
1,277 / 4,735
  197
1978
1,155 / 4,759
  122
1981
1,240 / 4,769
  85
1985
1,201 / 4,773
  39
1989
1,261 / 4,737
  60
1993
1,601 / 4,703
  340
1997
1,557 / 4,685
  44
2001
1,666 / 4,647
  109
2005
804 / 2,522
  862
2009
699 / 2,468
  105
2013
767 / 2,444
  68
2017
688 / 2,432
  79

Regional electionsEdit

Date Votes Seats
# ±
1935 217,375
124 / 299
New
1943 300,241
123 / 299
  1
1946 368,040
139 / 299
  16
1950 348,861
128 / 299
  11
1954 355,295
127 / 299
  1
1958 412,111
135 / 303
  8
1962 387,628
127 / 301
  8
1966 402,574
115 / 303
  12
1970 449,479
95 / 366
  20
1974 400,062
98 / 370
  3
1978 411,812
90 / 370
  8
1981 457,565
84 / 370
  6
1985 418,149
83 / 374
  1
1989 451,807
89 / 374
  6
1993 717,536
125 / 374
  36
1997 665,857
124 / 374
  1
2001 963,220
139 / 374
  15
2005 744,466
60 / 205
  79
2009 648,903
54 / 205
  6
2013 809,664
62 / 205
  8
2017
54 / 205
  8

European ParliamentEdit

Election year # of votes % of votes # of seats won +/- Notes
1979 252,767 14.5 (#3)
3 / 16
1984 248,397 12.5 (#4)
2 / 16
  1
1989 297,565 16.6 (#3)
3 / 16
  1
1994 394,362 19.0 (#1)
4 / 16
  1
1999 460,834 23.4 (#1)
5 / 16
  1
2004 366,734 19.4 (#2)
3 / 14
  2
2009 474,041 20.2 (#2)
3 / 13
  0
2014 379,840 17.7 (#3)
2 / 13
  1
2019 648,203 23.5 (#1)
4 / 14
  2

Youth and student wingsEdit

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ The party name is officially not translated into any other language, but is in English often referred to as the Liberal Party. Similar rules apply for the name of the party's youth wing Venstres Ungdom.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hvor mange medlemmer har de politiske partier?". Folketinget.
  2. ^ a b Emil Joseph Kirchner; Alistair H. Thomas (1988). Liberal Parties in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-521-32394-9. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b Hans Slomp (2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. pp. 415, 420. ISBN 978-0-313-39182-8. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Denmark". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  5. ^ Svante Ersson; Jan-Erik Lane (1998). Politics and Society in Western Europe. SAGE. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-7619-5862-8. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  6. ^ a b Åsa Bengtsson; Kasper Hansen; Ólafur Þ Harõarson; Hanne Marthe Narud; Henrik Oscarsson (2013). The Nordic Voter: Myths of Exceptionalism. ECPR Press. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-907301-50-6.
  7. ^ a b Josep M. Colomer (2008). Political Institutions in Europe. Routledge. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-134-07354-2.
  8. ^ "AKVA3: Valg til regions råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  9. ^ "VALGK3: Valg til kommunale råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  10. ^ Nanna Kildal; Stein Kuhnle (2007). Normative Foundations of the Welfare State: The Nordic Experience. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-134-27283-9.
  11. ^ "Europavalg". DR. Archived from the original on 2012-04-01. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  12. ^ Dimitri Almeida (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. Routledge. p. 98–. ISBN 978-0-415-69374-5.
  13. ^ Almeida, Dimitri. "Liberal Parties and European Integration" (PDF).
  14. ^ Esaiasson, Peter; Heidar, Knut (1999). Beyond Westminster and Congress: the Nordic experience. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. p. 377. ISBN 978-0-8142-0839-7.
  15. ^ "Kritik af skattereform: De rige vinder og de fattige taber". www.bt.dk. 24 February 2009.
  16. ^ "AE: Skattestop forgylder de rige". Politiken. 4 September 2002.

Further readingEdit

  • Tom Matz (2004), Venstre ved du hvor du har ‹See Tfd›(in Danish). ForlagsKompagniet: Nørhaven Book.

External linksEdit