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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
LeaderJakob Ellemann-Jensen
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 groupRenew Europe
Nordic affiliationCentre Group
ColoursBlue
Folketing:
43 / 179
European Parliament:
3 / 13
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. In the 2019 general elections, Venstre received 23.4% of the vote and 43 out of 179 seats. Its current leader is Jakob Ellemann-Jensen following the resignation of Lars Løkke Rasmussen as chairman on 31 August 2019.[11]

The party is a member of Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and has three MEPs in the European Parliament.[12]

IdeologyEdit

Venstre is categorised as centre-right on the political spectrum.[7] It is a market liberal party[13] within the Nordic agrarian tradition,[14] and today is notably more pro-free market than its sister parties.[15] 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."[16][17]

HistoryEdit

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

1870–1910Edit

Venstre was founded in 1870 under the name Det Forenede Venstre ("The United Left") and originally consisted of multiple conflicting groups, all united under the liberal ideology, the safeguarding of farmers' interests and opposition to the then conservative party Højre (litterally "Right"). After the party in 1872 gained an absolute majority in the Folketing, it became the leading voice in the battle for parliamentarism, whereafter the party in 1895 split in two, Venstrereformpartiet ("Venstre Reform Party") and Det Moderate Venstre ("The Moderate Left"). In 1905, the Danish Social Liberal Party split from the party, and in 1910 Venstrereformpartiet and Det Moderate Venstre reunited again under the name Venstre.[18]

1910–2009Edit

With the decreasing numbers of farms and the growing urbanisation, membership and voter support dropped in the 1950s. During the 1960s the party gradually evolved from being a traditional farmers' party to a more general liberal party. In 1984 Uffe Ellemann-Jensen was elected chairman, and by profiling the liberal ideology in sharp confrontation to the Social Democrats, for example by campaigning for a reduction of the public sector, increasing market management and privatisation, and by being pro-EU, the party returned to its historical position as the biggest liberal party in the 1990s.[18]

After a disappointing 1998 general election, Ellemann-Jensen resigned as chairman and Anders Fogh Rasmussen was elected in his place. He immediately changed the party's usual confrontational strategy, instead appealing to the political centre. In the 2001 general elections the party campaigned for tighter immigration policies and a "tax stop", which proved successful and the party once again became the biggest in parliament, winning 31.2% of the vote and 56 seats. Venstre formed a coalition government with the Conservative People's Party and the Danish People's Party. For the first time since 1929 a liberal government was no longer dependent on the centre parties. Despite a small decline in both the 2005 general elections (29% and 52 seats) and the 2007 general elections (26.2% and 46 seats), the party remained the biggest and the coalition government continued.[18]

On 5 April 2009 Fogh Rasmussen resigned as chairman, instead serving as Secretary General of NATO. In his place Lars Løkke Rasmussen was elected.[19]

2009–presentEdit

In the 2011 general elections the gained 26.7% of the vote and 47 seats, but wasn't able to form a government, instead leading the opposition of Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidts Social Democratic coalition.

Even though the party lost voter support in the 2015 general elections, only gaining 19.5% of the vote, the party formed a minority government. This government was short lived, and in 2016 Løkke Rasmussen invited the Conservative People's Party and the Liberal Alliance to form a coalition government instead.[20]

During the campaign of the 2019 general elections Løkke Rasmussen published an autobiography, in which he opened up for the possibility of forming a government with the Social Democrats.[21] This was seen as controversial in the liberal "blue bloc", and Social Democratic leader Mette Frederiksen immediately declined the proposition.[22]

Following internal fighting in the party, Løkke Rasmussen and vice chairman Kristian Jensen both resigned on 31 August 2019. On 21 September 2019 political spokesman and former Minister for Environment and Food Jakob Ellemann-Jensen was elected the party's next chairman.[23]

Prime MinistersEdit

Leaders since 1929Edit

No. Portrait 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 200931 August 201910 years
Jensen, KristianKristian Jensen
(born 1971)
Acting
31 August 201921 September 201921 days
10Jensen, KristianJakob Ellemann-Jensen
(born 1973)
21 September 2019Incumbent0 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 leading the opposition

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 August 17, 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 August 17, 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 August 17, 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 June 13, 2010.
  9. ^ "VALGK3: Valg til kommunale råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved June 13, 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. ^ Kristiansen, Cecilie Lund; Larsen, Johan Blem (August 31, 2019). "Lars Løkke trækker sig som Venstres formand". Politiken (in Danish). Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  12. ^ "Europavalg". DR. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  13. ^ Dimitri Almeida (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. Routledge. p. 98–. ISBN 978-0-415-69374-5.
  14. ^ Almeida, Dimitri. "Liberal Parties and European Integration" (PDF).
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Kritik af skattereform: De rige vinder og de fattige taber". www.bt.dk. February 24, 2009.
  17. ^ "AE: Skattestop forgylder de rige". Politiken. September 4, 2002.
  18. ^ a b c Bille, Lars; Rüdiger, Mogens. "Venstre". danmarkshistorien.dk (in Danish). Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  19. ^ Lund, Kenneth (April 5, 2009). "Anders Fogh er trådt tilbage". Politiken (in Danish). Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  20. ^ Bille, Lars; Bille, Mogens (February 2, 2009). "Venstre | Gyldendal - Den Store Danske". denstoredanske.dk (in Danish). Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  21. ^ "Løkke åbner for SV-regering efter valget". DR (in Danish). Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  22. ^ "Mette Frederiksen afviser Løkke: SV-regering kan ikke komme på tale". DR (in Danish). Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  23. ^ "Jakob Ellemann-Jensen er valgt som Venstres nye formand". Politiken (in Danish). September 21, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2019.

Further readingEdit

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

External linksEdit